Suspecting a deal behind Centre’s decision to sell 12.15 per cent share of Nalco, ruling BJD in Odisha today announced a series of agitations to oppose it.

“We suspect a deal behind the decision as Nalco is a profit making CPSU. As the company this year gave a dividend of Rs 224 crore to Government of India, there was no point to disinvest its share,” said BJD general secretary Rabi Narayan Nanda, who is also the state’s Mass Education Minister.

Nanda alleged that there must be ‘the hand of certain vested interests’ behind taking such a decision.

BJD decided to hold a protest rally at Damanjodi in Koraput district on September 24 followed by another at Angul on September 26 and finally a demonstration here on September 28.

While Nalco’s refinery and mining site are located at Damonjodi in Koraput district, its smelter plant is at Angul and the Navratna company’s corporate office is here.

The union cabinet recently approved sale of 12.15 per cent share of Nalco. Post the sale the Government of India’s stake in the Navratna firm would come down to 75 per cent from 87.15 per cent.

“It is an anti-national decision to sell shares of Nalco to private parties,” alleged BJD youth wing president Sanjay Dasburma.

BJD women wing president Pramila Mallick said people of Odisha would not tolerate such “whimsical” decision.

“Nalco is a sentimental issue in Odisha. We will oppose its privatisation,” she said.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had criticised the decision on September 14 after the Union Cabinet approved sale of minority stakes of four public sector firms including Nalco.

“Nalco is doing well and making huge profit. There is no reason for disinvestment,” he had said.

(This article was published on September 19, 2012)
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