Finally, there is light at the end of the tunnel for Haldia Petrochemicals (HPL), where the major shareholders The Chatterjee Group (TCG) and the West Bengal government were fighting a legal battle for some time.
While Purnendu Chatterjee, The Chatterjee Group chairman, refrained from giving a clear answer on the possibility of an out-of-court settlement with the state government, the signs of the thawing of ice with the new state government were visible.
After a change of guard at the Writers’ Building (the centre of power in the state), there were reports that the Trinamool Congress-led might go for a settlement regarding the battle over shareholding pattern in the company. “I found that there is an openness in the collaboration to solve this problem and the problem of HPL’s current financial difficulties of the company. I think we will resolve this and take it forward. We are having a new beginning now,” Chatterjee said, after a meeting with the state industry and commerce minister Partha Chatterjee on Saturday.
When asked about the improving relationship with the new government, he said, “Whatever happens, we are going to work together. It is a meeting of hearts... we are not going to work with pain in our heart.” The final hearing on the case had taken place last year and a judgement is awaited soon. “It is sub judice and we are awaiting a judgement. I am not sure about whether the government is thinking about an out-of-court settlement, but I believe that a quick decision will help us to move on with other projects,” he added.
Mentioning the complex nature of the case, Chatterjee added, “The government has a lot of complex things to look into. Probably, they have not yet been briefed of all the nuances regarding our history.” He also hinted that once it is briefed both the parties will sit together and solve the issue. According to TCG, “the company owns 60 % share in HPL, while the government litigation position contradicts it”.