Kerala CM writes to Modi against move to disinvest BPCL

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan (PTI File Photo)

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi's intervention to stop the reported move to disinvest the state owned Bharat Petroleum Corproation LTD (BPCL).

In a letter to Modi, a copy of which was released to the media here, Vijayan said that the centre had initiated action through release of Request for Proposal (RPF), causing 'severe anxiety' among the general public in the state.

The state government was the promoter of the erstwhile Kochi refinery with five per cent stake and the state government had extended financial and non-financial incentives to BPCL when the refinery capacity was augmented, he said.

The state government had also agreed to refund the entire 'Work Contract Tax' amounting to Rs 85 crore to BPCL. It was also agreed to treat the additional VAT revenue, due to the augmented capacity of BPCL, as soft loan, which is refundable after 15 years, the letter stated.

About Rs 1,500 crore has been advanced in this endeavour and these assistances from the state government was to ensure that the public sector refinery should be stregthened,he said.

The Kerala government proposes to set up a petrochemical park adjacent to BPCL on the assurance that the feed stock from the refinery would be made available. With the initiation of the disinvestment process, the proposed investment of around rs 25,000 crore would become uncertain, Vijayan said.

Entrepreneurs who have come forward to invest are faced with the question of whether the feedstock from the refinery would be available or not and if available, its cost, he said. The state government and civil society are concerned that the BPCL disinvestment would not be in the interest of more than 13,000 persons directly employed and contract employees.

The company, which has been making profit all along, has made more than Rs 50,000 crore investment in the last five years. Vijayan urged the Prime Minister to issue appropriate directions to give up the move to disinvest BPCL and retain it under the present ownership pattern in the interest of the stakeholders and national interest.

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