Bhubaneswar, Jan 12 : Former Union Minister Srikant Jena today described the disinvestment proposal of Nelachal Ispat Nigam Limited (NINL) a big conspiracy against the interest of Odisha by the Modi and Naveen Patnaik government.
Jena dared Patnaik and BJP leaders for a public debate over the privatization of the NINL, a joint venture company of six public sector undertakings, four of them central and two Odisha government companies. He said the NINL with a capacity of 1.1 million tonne is pride of Odisha and the plant spread over 2,500 acres of land, would be worth over Rs 2 lakh crore.
The steel plant, Jena said could earn a profit of Rs 1,000 crore. The Odisha government led by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and the NDA government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Mr Jena alleged had entered into a big conspiracy to hand it over to the private industrial houses against the interest of the state and its people.
The Union Cabinet chaired by Mr Modi has recently approved disinvestment of stake of six public sector units (PSUs) in NINL in which MMTC holds 49.78 per cent share followed by Odisha Mining Corporation (20.47 per cent), Odisha government undertaking IPICOL (12 per cent), NMDC (10.10 per cent) and MECON and BHEL 0.68 per cent stake each in the company.
The strategic buyer for NINL will be identified through a two-stage auction procedure, official sources said. Mr Jena said the pig iron produced from the NINL was the best quality in the country and the recently the Managing Director of the company had indicated that the plant will make profit in 2020.
He said the central cabinet approved the disinvestment in the NINL after the Odisha government which holds 32.47 per cent stake in the company gave a green signal for privatization. Mr Jena said the Samajik Naya Abhijan of which he is the chief patron will not allow any private industrial houses to take over the NINL and appealed to the Congress party to oppose the disinvestment plan as the plant was brain child of former Chief Minister J B Patnaik.
He said the NINL was not a sick unit and so there is no justification of disinvestment as approved by the centre.
The former union minister alleged that the plant was deliberately closed and the forest clearance for its mining was kept on hanging for last six years with the sole motive to hand it over to private industrial house.(uni)