Sunday, October 2, 2022

Disinvestment: Will private sector implement Ujjwala, PSU employees ask PM

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New Delhi: In a letter addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, an association representing PSU employees in oil and gas sector have raised a pertinent point: Wouldn’t disinvestment affect the implementation of Ujjwala and a bunch of other government schemes which are being put to fruition on the ground by public sector undertakings (PSUs)?

In a letter dated October 24, the Federation of Oil PSU Officers (FOPO), an association that claims to represent 7,000 officers of oil and gas sector cutting across IOC, BPCL, HPCL, GAIL, ONGC, OIL, CPCL, said, “The proposed divestment would disrupt social welfare schemes like Ujjwala, PAHAL, Make in India, Swachch Bharat etc, as a private entity would work only in profitable areas. As national oil company, BPCL has been contributing immensely to its social responsibility, be it of serving economically weaker sections or aid work during national calamities.” Ujjwala scheme is Modi government’s flagship scheme and over 80 million families have benefited from it.

‘What about social welfare, ask employees’

Arguing against disinvestment of BPCL, PSU employees pointed out in the letter that the state-run refiner is a Global Fortune 500 Company since the last 16 years. It is one of the most profitable Maharatna PSU, which has been contributing to government’s exchequer on regular basis, they said. “During the turmoil in global crude oil market, the heavy impact of price rise will be passed on to the consumer, which was hitherto absorbed by oil companies, thus resulting into the general price rise and adversely impacting the common man’s budget,” the employees argued. “Indian economy and current policies for oil and gas sector provide equal playing field for everyone. It will, therefore, be more beneficial for the country if private players create their own infrastructure and add value to Indian economy rather than handing over an organisation built over years by hard work of PSU employees,” the letter said.

ALSO READ: Rolling Stock: Two New Central PSUs in the pipeline

On restructuring of GAIL

“The reason cited for such splitting is to end the ‘monopoly’ and restrictiveness in gas business. It was to end such monopoly that private players were allowed entry into the field, however, several pipeline authorisations awarded to such private players are still not utilised. On the contrary, GAIL has an enviable track record in execution of pipelines. ‘Restrictiveness’ is only hypothetical and MoPNG, in an RTI reply, did confirm that there has not been any case of denial of transmission service by GAIL,” FOPO said in the letter. “Health of marketing and pipeline operations are inter-dependent and a restructuring of the company, when the market is yet to mature, would prove counter-productive to each of these business segments,” it added. ‘PM must intervene to stop disinvestment and restructuring of oil PSUs’ The employees urged Modi to stop the privatisation of BPCL and restructuring of other oil and gas PSUs to “alleviate anxieties” of employees and to save the companies that form “strong energy back bone” to the country.

(PSU Watch– India's Business News centre that places the spotlight on PSUs, Bureaucracy, Defence and Public Policy is now on Telegram. Join PSU Watch Channel in your Telegram and stay updated)

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