HYDERABAD: Alleging that the Narendra Modi government was planning to sell around Rs 40,000 crore worth Central government assets in Telangana, TRS working president and Industries Minister KT Rama Rao on Sunday demanded that the Centre should withdraw such plans forthwith. “I appeal to the Central government to reconsider its plans, failing which Telangana government will strongly obstruct the moves,” Rama Rao said in an open letter to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
In his letter, Rama Rao alleged that the BJP-led Central government was planning to sell assets, including land allotted to different Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) in Telangana. The BJP government was selling Hindustan Cables Limited, Hindustan Fluorocarbons Limited, Indian Drugs and Pharmaceuticals Limited, HMT, Cement Corporation of India Limited (CCI) and Ordnance factories in Telangana as part of its disinvestment plans, he said.
“The State government had allotted about 7,200 acres of land to these six companies. The value of these lands would be nearly Rs 5,000 crore according to government rates and as per open market prices, the value could be over Rs 40,000 crore,” he said. “Instead of selling the assets, the Central government should explore the possibilities of reviving and strengthening the PSUs. If it is not feasible then the State government should be given an opportunity to set up new industrial units in such lands,” he added.
Rama Rao recalled that the State government had allotted lands to these companies at marginal prices and in a few cases, they were offered free of cost, since setting up of these units would generate employment to local people, besides facilitating industrial development. When the State government urged the Centre to allot lands for the construction of skyways to improve transportation in Hyderabad, the Centre demanded compensation as per market price, he recalled and wondered: “How can the Central government sell the lands that were allotted by the State government for setting up PSUs.”
In his letter to the Union Finance Minister, Rama Rao said: “The Central government’s plans to sell PSUs are nothing but making a mockery of State government’s rights”. Rama Rao pointed out that several states, including Tamil Nadu were strongly opposing the Central government’s moves to sell PSUs set up in their respective States. Lashing out at the Central government for its attempts to sell PSUs in the guise of disinvestment, he sought to know under what provisions or rights, the Modi government was contemplating the sale of PSUs.
“Unfortunately the Modi government did not provide any job opportunities to the unemployed youth. If the PSUs are reopened, those units would provide direct employment to thousands and also millions will indirectly benefit from them,” he added.