Basumati floored by takeover proposal,CPM too approves

Employees of the moribund Basumati Corporation Limited have welcomed the remarks Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee made in her budget speech regarding taking over the PSU. They have also written a letter to Mamata thanking her for the move.

Written by Sabyasachi Bandopadhyay | Kolkata | Published: July 4, 2009 2:19 am

Employees of the moribund Basumati Corporation Limited have welcomed the remarks Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee made in her budget speech regarding taking over the PSU. They have also written a letter to Mamata thanking her for the move.

“The Railways has 16 printing presses across the country and if the state government agrees,we will take over Basumati and modernise it,” Mamata said in Parliament on Friday.

The state government had already said it had no objection if the Centre took over the ailing press that has an accumulated losses of Rs 92 crore. In fact,after Mamata mooted this proposal last week in Delhi,State Minister for Commerce and Industries Nirupam Sen said his department had no objection to it. “It is a very good proposal and I welcome this,” Sen had said.

Senior CPM leaders also welcomed the move. “It’s a good decision. We hope she will be able to fulfill the promises she has made in her budget,” said Benoy Konar,CPM Central Committee member.

According to state government officials,there was no procedural problem if the Centre took over the ailing PSU. Earlier,when the state government did not find any joint venture partner for the sick PSU Indian Iron and Steel Company (IISCO),it had approached Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL),to which the latter had agreed. Now the process of SAIL taking over the IISCO is nearing completion.

Interestingly,Mamata’s proposal comes as a relief for the employees owing allegiance to both Trinamool-backed INTUC and CITU,the labour wing of the CPM.

Both unions had participated in numerous protest rallies against the decision of the state government to close down the concern. In fact,Mamata herself addressed a rally at the company’s gate on February 8,in which she promised that she would not let the concern close down.

“It is a historic decision. We thank Mamatadi for fulfilling her promise to save the organisation that was set up in 1881 by Upendranath Mukherjee,a disciple of Ramakrishna Paramahansa,” said Timir Mukherjee,convenor of Basumati Corporation Bachao Committee.

“It’s a great proposal. Good if the interests of the workers are safeguarded,” said Mihir Chakrabarty,vice-president of Basumati Workers’ Union,affiliated to the CITU.

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