Kerala opposes move to disinvest profitable BPCL, Pinarayi writes to PM Modi

Kerala opposes move to disinvest profitable BPCL
In a letter to Modi, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the Centre's move has caused 'severe anxiety' among the public in the state.
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Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala government has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to stop the reported move to disinvest the state-owned Bharat Petroleum Corproation LTD (BPCL).

In a letter to Modi, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the Centre's move has caused 'severe anxiety' among the public in the state.

The Centre had initiated action through release of Request for Proposal (RPF), he said.

Pinarayi said the proposed investment of around Rs 25,000 crore to set up a petrochemical park adjacent to BPCL would become uncertain with the initiation of the disinvestment process.

The Kerala government has proposed to set up the petrochemical park on the assurance that the feed stock from the refinery would be made available.

Entrepreneurs who have come forward to invest are faced with the question of whether the feedstock from the refinery would be available or not and if available, its cost, he said.

The state government was the promoter of the erstwhile Kochi refinery with five per cent stake and had extended financial and non-financial incentives to BPCL when the refinery capacity was augmented, he said.

The state government had also agreed to refund the entire 'Work Contract Tax' amounting to Rs 85 crore to BPCL.

It was also agreed to treat the additional VAT revenue, due to the augmented capacity of BPCL, as soft loan, which is refundable after 15 years, the letter stated.

About Rs 1,500 crore has been advanced in this endeavour and these assistances from the state government was to ensure that the public sector refinery is stregthened, he said.

The state government and civil society are concerned that the BPCL disinvestment would not be in the interest of more than 13,000 persons directly employed and contract employees.

The company, which has been making profit all along, has made more than Rs 50,000 crore investment in the last five years.

Pinarayi urged the prime minister to issue appropriate directions to give up the move to disinvest BPCL and retain it under the present ownership pattern in the interest of the stakeholders and national interest.

(With inputs from PTI)

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