The Union Cabinet on November 20th, 2019 announced that the Numaligarh Refinery Limited(NRL) will not be privatised and remain under government control even as it approved disinvestment in the blue-chip oil firm Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd(BPCL).
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman informed that the NRL has been excluded from the strategic disinvestment of the government and that the Refinery will be carved out of the hold of BCPL and put under another public sector unit.
In a major disinvestment plan the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved the sale of the entire 53.29 percent government stake along with transfer of management control of the BCPL. However, the disinvestment plan does not include the 61.7% stake that the company holds in NRL.
The announcement came as a major relief for the people of Assam as student bodies and the opposition expressed their resentment in the government’s move. Congress MPs Ripun Bora, Gaurav Gogoi, Pradyut Bordoloi, Abdul Khaleque had even staged protest in front of Mahatma Gandhi statue in Parliament premises against the privatisation of the NRL.
Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal took to micro-blogging site Twitter and thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for “keeping the aspirations of Assam”.
The strategic disinvestment plan also includes the sale of 31% stake and management control in the Shipping Corp of India, and on land cargo mover Concor and THDCIL.
The CCEA also cleared the sale of its entire stake in Tehri Hydro Development Corp of India and North Eastern Electric Power Corporation (Neepco) to NTPC.