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Wednesday, Feb 06, 2002

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Industry & Economy - Disinvestment

Unions oppose privatisation of Coir Board showrooms

G.K. Nair

KOCHI, Feb. 5

THE Union Government's decision to privatise Coir Board showrooms and its manufacturing unit, Hindustan Coir, has been opposed by its employees unions.

The Centre had directed the board to privatise its show rooms, barring a few in the metros, and Hindustan Coir before March 31. A senior Coir Board official said of the 32 showrooms, about 28 of them including the sales depots were being considered for privatisation as most of them were making losses.

The showrooms are only service centres where the products from different consignors are stocked.

These products, till they are sold, remained the products of different consignors only and the money realised on sales will be passed on to the consignors after deducting a commission of 15 per cent. Thus, the board's role is only as a facilitator.

The losses made so far were ignored as these were being run only as promotional institutions, the official said.

However, in the changing scenario, they could be run profitably if the board raised its commission from 15 to 25 per cent.

The consignors would not have any objection to this hike as the board was doing the generic publicity of their products at an annual expenditure of Rs 1-1.5 crore, he said.

The Joint Action Council set up to fight against privatisation of board's showrooms and the factory has already taken up the matter with the Union Minister for Agro and Rural Industries.

The Kerala Minister for Agriculture, Ms K.R. Gauriamma, is expected to take up the issue with the Prime Minister soon.

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