Cen­tre yet to find tak­ers for sur­plus land in 3 PSUs

Hindustan Times (Lucknow) - - Nation - Saub­hadra Chat­terji let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com ▪

NEW DELHI: The Na­tional Demo­cratic Al­liance govern­ment has not been able to sell sur­plus land in at least three ail­ing sta­te­owned com­pa­nies, ac­cord­ing to a note by the chem­i­cal and fer­til­izer min­istry sub­mit­ted to a Par­lia­men­tary panel ear­lier this month.

Two years ago, the union cabi­net de­cided to sell land of four un­der-per­form­ing state-owned firms in the pharma busi­ness-Hin­dus­tan An­tibi­otics Lim­ited (HAL), In­dian Drugs & Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals Lim­ited (IDPL), Ra­jasthan Drugs & Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals Lim­ited (RDPL) and Ben­gal Chem­i­cals & Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals Lim­ited (BCPL)—to meet their out­stand­ing li­a­bil­i­ties. Last month, the chem­i­cal and fertl­iz­ers min­istry un­der which these com­pa­nies come in­formed the Par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tee on Pub­lic Un­der­tak­ings that there were no bid­ders for land of three com­pa­nies and that the sale in RDPL is stuck in a le­gal tan­gle. Hin­dus­tan Times has re­viewed the note.

Sell­ing land is a pop­u­lar and vi­able route for fund­ing re­vival pack­ages of state-owned com­pa­nies or set­tling their dues. In this case, though there have been no tak­ers for the land, which is in not-so-at­trac­tive lo­ca­tions and, in some cases, comes with squat­ters, said an of­fi­cial in­volved in the dis­cus­sions who asked not to be iden­ti­fied.

“Cen­tral govern­ment, state govern­ment, lead­ing PSUs (pub­lic

sec­tor un­der­tak­ings), fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions were re­quested on 18.05.2017 separately to bid. NBCC in­vited Re­quest for Quo­ta­tions from govern­ment agen­cies for land of IDPL plant at Hy­der­abad, but no bids were re­ceived de­spite ex­ten­sion of date, “the min­istry wrote in its note on IDPL. It had sim­i­lar com­ments for BCPL and HAL. The govern­ment planned to close down IDPL and RDPL and find strate­gic buy­ers for the other two.

“The sale pro­ceeds were meant to pay for out­stand­ing li­a­bil­i­ties and vol­un­tary re­tire­ment and sep­a­ra­tion schemes,” said the min­istry’s note. The land up for sale was lo­cated in Rishikesh, Hy­der­abad, Muzaf­farabad (Bi­har) and Bhub­nesh­war.

Ben­gal Chem­i­cals was set up

in 1901 and the HAL and IDPL came up in the early years of In­de­pen­dent In­dia, but all these com­pa­nies have fallen sick in the last few years. In 2016, the union cabi­net ap­proved a plan to mon­e­tise al­most 1600 acres of land be­long­ing to the four com­pa­nies and spread over dif­fer­ent parts of the coun­try. The four com­pa­nies have a to­tal land of 2352 acres.

When the panel asked if there were other ways to make these com­pa­nies prof­itable, the govern­ment main­tained that in view of the cabi­net de­ci­sion to off­load stakes, no com­ment can be of­fered at this stage.

The to­tal li­a­bil­i­ties of the three ail­ing com­pa­nies amount to ₹20,358 crore. Out of this, the li­a­bil­ity for IDPL stands at ₹ 10,866 crores, BCPL, ₹ 8681 crore and HAL, ₹811 crore.

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