The Left parties have decided to reach out to other Opposition parties against the Centre’s move to raise ₹1,000 crore by selling the stakes of defence-sector public enterprise BEML.
CPI(M) MP and CITU General Secretary Tapan Sen questioned the Centre’s move in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday and said destroying ordnance factories and defence PSUs is a “thoroughly anti-national” act.
CPI(M) MP in Lok Sabha, MB Rajesh, also the president of BEML Employees Union, had raised the matter in Lok Sabha during the Budget session. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley wrote to Rajesh recently informing that the process before the disinvestment is going on and once it is completed, the matter will come back to the Centre. Sen said privatisation and selling out of national assets has become the hallmark of the Centre’s policy and added that such a policy is being pursued while chanting nationalistic slogan. He said the Centre is also indulging in destructive exercise by destroying the manufacturing capability of the country’s defence production sector.
Sen was supported by members from all Opposition parties. “No country has given up its indigenous ammunition- and spares-making capacity, which the Indian defence PSUs have been doing. Now, you are taking out products from them, instead of placing orders on them,” said deputy leader of Congress, Anand Sharma.
Rajesh told BusinessLine that the workers of BEML had held a one-day protest strike in May to warn the Centre against the move to sell the PSU.
“BEML is worth ₹65,000 crore. But the Centre wants to sell it off for just ₹1,000 crore. The mobilisation of ₹1,000 crore can be achieved by sale of a mere 10-acre surplus land in Bengaluru. If BEML is sold to a private company, it can make an earning of ₹25,000 crore-1 lakh crore by commercially developing this land at the heart of Bengaluru city,” Rajesh said.