The Kerala CPI-M has decided to extend support to a proposed countrywide strike of BPCL employees against the privatization of the public sector enterprise on November 28. The Centre was initially accused of "selling the family silver" and now the CPI(M) has slammed the move saying that it is "completely detrimental to India's sovereignty." The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on Wednesday approved the sale of government's entire 53.29 percent stake along with transfer of management control in the country's second-biggest state-owned refiner Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) after removing Numaligarh refinery from its fold. It also approved the sale of the entire government holding of 63.75 percent in Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) and 30.9 percent stake in Container Corp of India (Concor).
"The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) extends its support to the countrywide strike by all unions of BPCL on November 28. The CPI(M) has already announced a month-long campaign against privatisation of PSUs in December," said the party in a statement on Thursday.
Shares of Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL), Shipping Corp of India (SCI) and Container Corp of India (Concor) showed a mixed trend on Thursday after the Cabinet approved the sale of government's stake in these companies. BPCL which opened the day 0.92 percent higher at Rs 549.70 -- its 52-week high -- later erased the gains and fell to a low of Rs 527.35, down 3.17 percent over its previous close on BSE.
"In order to meet its profligate expenditure, mostly on propaganda and spin, this government is selling public assets to meet a target of raising Rs 1.10 lakh crore. In the process, productive and value-creating PSUs are being sold to promote their crony corporates to gain strategic control of the Indian economy," added the party.
PM Modi’s government has set a target of raising a certain amount from the sale of state firms in the current fiscal year. The government’s budget gap goal is at risk due to slow revenue collection limiting the government’s ability to spend on infrastructure and welfare programs. Losing a certain amount of stake in Bharat Petroleum could help the Centre meet its aim based on the closing price on September 12. Attempts to sell the state refiners of Hindustan Petroleum Corp. and Bharat Petroleum received a lot of protests from labors and political groups which was then stalled by the Supreme Court in 2003.
(With inputs from ANI and PTI)