Press Statement

The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has issued the following statement:
Stop Sale of Oil Companies

The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) expresses its strong opposition to the decision to privatise the HPCL and the BPCL. The Cabinet Committee on Disinvestment has decided that the HPCL should be handed over to a strategic partner by selling off 26 per cent of its shares while in the BPCL, the government would sell over 40 per cent of its share.

The Vajpayee government has taken this harmful decision in the strategic oil sector despite widespread opposition. The selling off of the public assets in such a vital sector is nothing but a betrayal of the country’s interests. The sale of these oil companies have to be stopped. The decision not to allow public sector units like the ONGC to bid for HPCL makes it clear that the government is determined to foster private monopolies, both foreign and Indian, in the strategic sector.

Notwithstanding the claim of the government that no parliamentary approval is required, both these oil companies were nationalized by legislation adopted in parliament and parliament cannot be bypassed.

In order to protest against this sell out of the country’s interests, the Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) has decided to hold a countrywide protest day on February 14, 2003. The Polit Bureau calls upon all its Party units to organise demonstrations on that day demanding a halt to the sale of the oil companies.