People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
August 29, 2004
Centre Warned Against Selling BALCO Equity
Communist Party of India (Marxist) Rajya Sabha member of Parliament Dipankar
Mukherjee has asked the Centre not to sell its residual 49 per cent equity in
the privatised Bharat Aluminium Company (BALCO) till the Fact-Finding Committee,
constituted by the previous NDA Government,
to look into labour related issues submits its report.
that the report might reveal serious violations of the shareholders agreement,
Dipankar Mukherjee in a letter to the Finance Minister P Chidambaram has
said that though the committee was formed one and a half years ago, it had not
submitted its report till date.
is an apprehension that the report has not been submitted, as the same would
have revealed serious violations of the shareholders agreement on labour related
issues, ” he says adding that “under the circumstance, it will not be
prudent for the government to sell its residual 49 per cent equity till an
authentic report is available from the Committee on the violations of the
shareholder’s agreement as pointed out in number of representations from the
employees of BALCO to the concerned ministry and Prime Minister time and
a similar letter to the Finance Minister, the CITU President MK Pandhe, has also
urged him to stall the move of transferring the residual government equity in
Balco to Sterlite till the report of the committee is available.
letter states: “You are aware
that all the central trade unions had opposed sale of residual 49 per cent
government stake in BALCO to Sterlite for several reasons and I had already
written to you one month ago conveying the ardent appeal of the BALCO employees
not to sell the residual government stake to Sterlite. In fact, the whole issue
of BALCO-sell-off is crucial and deserves a serious relook in all its aspects. I
am yet to get a response on the same.
in reply to the questions raised in Parliament (Rajya Sabha), the Minister of
State for Finance S S Palnimanckam has gone on record on August 17, 2004 that
the government is not retracting from the decision of selling the residual
government equity in BALCO to Sterlite as the same is obligatory as per the
“Shareholders’ Agreement” between the government and Sterlite.
will appreciate that the obligations under the “Shareholders Agreement”
cannot be one-sided affair and violation of the said agreement by one party
requires the other party, the government in this case, to review the whole deal
and take appropriate corrective measures, ” writes Pandhe.
may be noted that the Fact-Finding Committee was appointed
complaints of flagrant violations of the shareholders’ agreement by the
Sterlite in BALCO on labour related matters from all the unions there. Which
surfaced in the meeting between the Prime Minister and all central trade unions
in October 2002. The then Prime
Minister, being convinced on the prima facie violation, constituted the
committee’ comprising BMS President Hasubhai
Dave, Employers Federation of India President Sharad Patil and a representative
each from the Labour Ministry and the Disinvestment Ministry.
terms of reference of the committee were to assess whether lay-off/retrenchment
has been resorted to by the concerned companies and whether there were any
deviations from the shareholders’ agreement signed by these companies with the
Government of India in respect of clauses dealing with labour issues.