The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has issued the following statement:
The decision of the BJP-led government to privatise the Indian Petrochemicals Corporation Ltd (IPCL) has to be strongly opposed as it is a prime example of all that is wrong in the government's disinvestment policy. The Cabinet Committee on Disinvestment has decided to sell off the government's 51 per cent stake in this vital petrochemical project. It has also decided to sell 26 per cent of the equity shares to a strategic partner who will gain control of the company.
The IPCL was one of the `navratnas' amongst the public sector units declared by the government. According to the calculations made by the Working Group on Disinvestment Issues, a "strategic partner" will pay around Rs. 1,100 crores for 25 per cent shares to acquire control over assets worth Rs. 10,000 crores and cash reserves of Rs. 2,780 crores.
The "strategic partner" route is expected to lead to the choice of a big business house which will establish a monopoly in the petrochemicals sector. Further, in the present depressed market conditions, the sale of the government's stake will be at price far below what was expected even last year.
The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) demands that the government not proceed with the disinvestment and privatisation of the IPCL. It should consider alternative proposals for keeping the IPCL in the public sector.