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Over 13,000 workers hold candle march against NTPC disinvestment

More than 13,000 NTPC Limited employees, out of a total strength of 19,000, held a candle march to oppose the disinvestment of NTPC

New Delhi: Here’s a piece of news that you will not find anywhere else: more than 13,000 NTPC Limited employees, out of a total strength of 19,000, took to streets alongwith their family members and held a candle march to oppose the proposed disinvestment of NTPC Ltd on Friday. Even though there is little news from the official corridors on the proposed disinvestment of NTPC, employees have said that the proposal is being considered.

Speaking to PSU Watch, VK Sharma, Chairman of NTPC Executives’ Federation of India (NEFI), said, “The management has not spoken officially about it. However, unofficially, everyone in the top brass is discussing it. Going by what is happening in the PSU sector in general, anything seems possible and everyone is apprehensive.”

50 units hold candle march against NTPC disinvestment

Sharma said that there are 50 units at NTPC Limited and all of them are taking part in the march to oppose disinvestment. “Apart from 13,000 executives, non-executives are also taking part in the protests. This is the first time that employees have turned out in such huge numbers at NTPC for a cause. In the morning, gate meetings happened across NTPC offices in the country,” he said.

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He added that they also had a meeting with the management on November 13. However, the management has denied that they are aware of any such proposal being considered by the Ministry of Power. “We have been repeatedly trying to seek a meeting with the Minister of Power, RK Singh. But it seems that he is too busy.”

The backdrop

Various reports in the media have claimed that the government is looking to dilute its 54.50 percent stake in NTPC. In October, the Union Cabinet cleared a government proposal for the sale of the Centre’s stake in THDC India and NEEPCO to NTPC. In Q2 results, NTPC posted a 34.48 percent jump in Profit after Tax (PAT) at Rs 3,262.44 crores, as against Rs 2,426.02 crores in the corresponding quarter of the previous year.

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This is the first time that employees have turned out in such huge numbers at NTPC for a cause, said VK Sharma, General Secretary of NEFI. Total income was at Rs 23,658.23 crores as against Rs 22,485.96 crores in Q2 FY19, registering an increase of 5.21 percent. Profit after tax was Rs 5,865.23 crores in H1 FY20 as against Rs 5,014.16 crores in H1 FY19, registering an increase of 16.97 percent.