Disinvestment move by SAIL causes apprehension
A request for proposal floated by the Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL), a government-owned enterprise, from qualified bidders for engagement of asset valuer, legal adviser, and transaction adviser for disinvestment in Visvesvaraya Iron and Steel Plant (VISP), Bhadravati, has created apprehension among the workers serving there.
Apart from VISP, Bhadravati, the Union government has given in-principle nod for disinvestment in two other special steel plants owned by SAIL — Alloy Steels Plant, Durgapur and Salem Steel Plant, Salem.
The request for engagement was floated on February 26 and the firms interested should submit their bids by April 4.
Citing loss incurred by VISP, SAIL has decided to go in for disinvestment. The total workforce at VISP is 1,595, including 363 permanent workers and 1,232 workers serving on contract basis.
The services of asset valuer firm will be hired to carry out the valuation of tangible and intangible assets of VISP, including land and buildings, civil infrastructure like roads, drains, production units, machinery, stocks, inventory, furniture, and fixtures. The legal adviser is expected to review and advice on all legal issues and contracts involving the firm and its disinvestment, titles of property, and on contract with the employees. The transaction adviser will be assigned the responsibility of assisting SAIL on modalities of disinvestment, preparation of necessary documents, including preliminary information memorandum, confidential information memorandum, expression of interests, and suggesting measures to fetch optimum sale value. Commenting on this development, J.N. Chandrahas, president of VISP Workers’ Union, said that privatisation or disinvestment is against the interests of the workers.
A delegation of the trade union leaders from Bhadravati met Union Minister for Steel Chaudhary Birender Singh in New Delhi recently and requested him to drop the disinvestment move. They also requested the Minister to provide necessary funds to modernise the firm. Mr. Singh informed the delegation that SAIL would invest funds to modernise VISP if the State government sanctions captive mine for the firm.