K'taka CM asks Centre to drop VISL disinvestment plan

K'taka CM asks Centre to drop VISL disinvestment plan

PTI file photo

Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa on Thursday called on Union Steel Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and requested him to drop the disinvestment proposal of Visvesvarayya Iron and Steel Ltd (VISL), which has attracted no bidders till now.

Bhadravathi-based VISL, which was set up in 1918, was merged into SAIL in 1998.

In the meeting, the chief minister informed that "there is still resistance for disinvestment of VISL"  and requested the Union Minister to take necessary action to drop the disinvestment proposal of the steel plant.

He highlighted that VISL is a very good brand in the alloy steel industry. People of Bhadravathi and Shivamoga are attached to the plant, he said while urging the union minister to revive the unit by infusing required capital.

The chief minister further informed that VISL is presently a "loss-making" unit because no capital investment either by the central government or SAIL.

SAIL has infused only Rs 157 crore in VISL so far for repair and renewal of the plant, he said.

SAIL, which has initiated disinvestment of VISL as per the recommendation of the government think-tank Niti Aayog, has not received any bids from private firms till now, he added in a representation made to the Steel Minister.

The steel PSU had called expression of interest from private firms in July 2019.

VISL is the only steel producer of more than 730 special grade steel in the country and has potential to contribute to achieving the aim of National Steel Policy 2017.

The company has captive mines of nearly 497 acres, abundant water resources from Bhadra river, power generating plant, adequate land and labour.