NRL's main gate
NRL main gate. File photo

The move of the Centre to privatise NRL may not go well with Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal expressing his concern over the matter.

The Numaligarh Refinery Limited (NRL) was set up in Golaghat as a result of the sacrifices of 855 martyrs of 6-year-long Assam Movement led by the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU).

Now, Sonowal, who once led the AASU as its president, has dashed off a letter to the Centre expressing his concern over the NDA government’s disinvestment of NRL.

According to information, Sonowal has requested the Centre to clear its stand whether it is going to privatise the NRL as reported.

Also read: AASU threatens to launch protest against NRL privatisation

It has been reported that the Centre is planning to hand over the Bharat Petroleum Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL), which holds a 61.65 per cent stake in NRL.

“BPCL is the largest shareholder of Numaligarh Refinery Limited and if BPCL is privatised, NRL will go into the hands of private player,” said a press communiqué issued by CM’s PR cell.

“In the wake of this, Sonowal on Monday sent a letter to the Central Government,” it added.

Earlier, the Assam CM reportedly denied having any knowledge about the Centre’s plan to hand over NRL to private party.

The plan to hand over the BPCL to private player and disinvestment in NRL has been vehemently opposed by different organisations of Assam including All Assam Students’ Union (AASU).

It has been reported that the government’s plan to privatise BPCL is likely to clear decks for Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) to bring in a strategic private or foreign partner in its subsidiary Hindustan Petroleum Corporation (HPCL).

A core group of secretaries on disinvestment on September 30 gave its nod to sell all of the government’s stake in BPCL.

According to sources close to the development, the government is working on a Cabinet note for BPCL stake sale and the matter is likely to be taken up by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs.

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