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Sick PSU land to ease govt burden

Last updated on: June 13, 2011 14:45 IST

Sick PSU land to ease govt burden

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Saubhadra Chatterji Saubhadra Chatterji in New Delhi

While land acquisition for new projects has become an increasing political concern, land assets of sick public sector undertakings are coming handy for the government.

The Board for Reconstruction of Public Sector Enterprises (BRPSE), the apex advisory body for PSU revival, is pushing for utilisation of valuable land resources of three ailing companies to reduce the Centre's burden.

Indian Drugs and Pharmaceuticals (IDPL), Hindustan Photofilms (HPL) and Hindustan Cables are being pitched by BRPSE to private investors and respective state governments, so that their land can be used for new industrial initiatives.

BRPSE chairman Nitish Sengupta has written letters to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa and West Bengal's Mamata Banerjee, urging them to take over Ooty-based HPL and the Roopnarayanpur township of Hindustan Cables, respectively.

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Photographs: Reuters
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For IDPL, which is chronically sick, BRPSE has asked the company to sell off its prime land in Gurgaon in Haryana.

"The company has informed us that it can generate at least Rs 600 crore by selling the land. We want them to do it, as this would help IDPL in a big way," said Sengupta.

In his letter to Banerjee, Sengupta has written, "You will no doubt be constrained to find land for future industrialisation. I suggest to you that the township of Roopnarayanpur, adjacent to Chittaranjan (locomotive factory), can be a big industrial unit."

"All efforts to revive Hindustan Cables have failed. If the state government decides to take over the area of Roopnarayanpur township, we can give voluntary retirement to the remaining workers --around 1,400 -- who have been drawing salary without doing any work for many years," he further wrote.

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As HPL faces similar problems, Sengupta has suggested Jayalalithaa to take over the responsibility of reviving the company and taking at least 50 per cent of the shareholding. HPL is currently a 100 per cent central government unit.

Adding a political twist, Sengupta has also mentioned that the previous DMK-led state government had refused to buy a 50 per cent stake of HPL.

Sengupta told Business Standard, "HPL, too, has a lot of land in Ooty, a prime place in Tamil Nadu. If the state takes it over the land can be used for various profitable purposes."


Photographs: Reuters
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