File photo of NRL maingate. Image credit - Wikimedia Commons

Assam’s Nagaon MP Pradyut Bordoloi has written a letter to union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman opposing proposed privatization of BPCL and NRL.

Union finance minister Sitharaman on Saturday announced that oil giant Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) and Air India would be sold by March next year.

Also read: Air India, BPCL to be sold by March 2020: Sitharaman

Through his letter to Sitharaman, Congress MP Bordoloi expressed “anguish on the proposed privatization of Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd. and the impact it will have on the Numaligarh Refinery located in Assam”.

It may be mentioned that the BPCL holds 61.65% equity in the Numaligarh Refinery Limited (NRL).

Also read: Assam Congress stages protest against NRL privatisation

So, if the BPCL is privatized, the NRL, which was set up as a result of the sacrifices of 855 martyrs of 6-year-long Assam Movement, will also go into the hands of private player.

Bordoloi while stating that “the BPCL holds 61.65% equity” in the NRL said when if the ownership of the BPCL is transferred, “this will lead to the privatization by stealth of NRL as well”.

Also read: Numaligarh protest over NRL privatisation

He said “NRL is not just any other refinery”.

It had seen “fructification of an institution after a prolonged agitation in Assam and was an outcome of the Assam Accord signed in 1985 between the Government of India and the people of Assam”.

“It is one of the finest refineries we have with major expansion plans in the pipelines as well,” the MP asserted.

Pradyut Bordoloi
Pradyut Bordoloi’s letter to Nirmala Sitharaman.
Pradyut Bordoloi’s letter to Nirmala Sitharaman.

He also said, “NRL serves strategic purposes with it being a major supplier of hydrocarbon products to India’s neighbouring countries as well.”

“It is an expression of the aspirations of the people of Assam and it has greatly contributed to the regional economy over the decades,” he added.

“Needless to say while the Government of Assam and another Assam based PSU, the Oil India Limited have owned the balance portion of the equity of the NRL, it would be a body blow to the people of Assam if you transfer the ownership of the NRL to a private player,” the Nagaon MP said.

Through the letter, Bordoloi requested the union finance minister to reconsider the “purported sale of the Numaligarh Refinery and this is something that the people of Assam and the North Eastern Region at large are firmly opposed to”.

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