Expressing concern over the Centre's plan to privatise Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL), senior Congress leader Debabrata Saikia on Monday said the issue is critical for the state as its subsidiary, Numaligarh Refinery Ltd (NRL), may meet the same fate.
Saikia, in a letter to Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, sought his intervention in dissuading the Centre from privatising "profit-making NRL, which was achieved by the people of the state under the Assam Accord after making considerable sacrifices".
"As a substantial quantum of public funds has already been used for asset creation and execution of various projects under NRL, it will be a great betrayal of public interest if BPCL is privatised now," Saikia, leader of the Opposition in Assam Assembly, said.
Slamming Sonowal for his alleged indifference towards the issue, Saikia said it does not befit a chief minister who came to power by promising to protect its land and identity.
The Congress leader criticised Sonowal for his recent comment that he did not know of plans to privatise BPCL and four other PSUs.
Saikia said the chief minister could have verified the plans to privatise BPCL by making a phone call to New Delhi.
"Since you have not deemed it necessary to do so, I feel it incumbent upon me as Leader of the Opposition to alleviate your ignorance.
On September 30, a group of secretaries of the Government of India held a meeting and cleared disinvestment of BPCL, NEEPCO and three other PSUs," he said.
Subsequently, on October 11, the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) hurriedly invited requests for proposals from eligible parties to work as transaction and legal advisers, as well as asset valuers for BPCL, NEEPCO and other PSUs, Saikia said.
The Congress leader claimed the disinvestment proposals are expected to be accorded cabinet approval by the end of next month.
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