Kerala CM expresses displeasure over Centre's privatisation spree
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Friday came out against the Centre for its reluctance to hand over central public sector undertakings in Kerala that are proposed to be privatised, saying that the objective of the state government is to rejuvenate and strengthen such institutions further.
He expressed displeasure over the BJP-led government’s stand of not entrusting the state with the management of the Thiruvananthapuram International Airport and the state unit of HLL despite repeated requests in this regard.
Vijayan was speaking after inaugurating the KEL Electrical Machines Limited, the renovated version of Bharat Heavy Electrical Limited-Electrical Machines Limited (BHEL-EML), which had been planned to be privatised by the Centre.
A Central Public Sector Enterprise (CPSE), BHEL-EML was taken over by the state government by spending a total of ₹77 crore, including ₹43 crore for its revival and promising to give it a fresh lease of life with advanced facilities.
“Though the state government has requested the Centre to entrust the management of several such institutions with the state, the Union government is reluctant to do the same. We have seen this in the cases of Thiruvananthapuram airport and the HLL,” he said.
When the Centre had decided to disinvest HLL, Kerala requested to hand over the management of its state unit but a favourable reply was yet to be received, he pointed out.
Making it clear that the state was against the privatisation of PSUs and wanted them to be retained in the public sector, Vijayan also said the recent state budget presented a five-pronged strategy for the rejuvenation of such institutions.
He also reminded the Union government that the land for CPSEs was taken over by the state and so its management should be handed over to them if they are proposed to be disinvested.
In terms of KEL Electrical Machines Limited, the CM said the state has spent over ₹77 crore for its takeover.
Of the ₹77 crore, ₹43 crore was earmarked for its rejuvenation, he said, adding that the effective intervention of the state government had helped retain the institution in the public sector.
BHEL-Electrical Machines Ltd, Kasaragod, was a CPSE and a subsidiary of BHEL, a Maharatna company.
The Kerala government had recently allowed BHEL to exit the joint venture with the state-run Electrical Machines Ltd.
It had also decided to purchase the shares in view of the Centres decision to disinvest its shares in BHEL-EML.
While BHEL had 51 per cent stake in the PSU, the state government had 49 per cent share in the JV.