June 19, 2021 4:51:26 am
West Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra on Friday said he was surprised that Union Steel Minister Dharmendra Pradhan “chose not to address” major questions about the dismantling of the Raw Materials Division of the Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) in Kolkata.
The state minister said he had written another letter to Pradhan about the RMD and also expressed concern about the possible relocation of four more central government offices based here — Tea Board, Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC), National Insurance Company and Calcutta Stock Exchange.
On June 16, Mitra had urged Pradhan to intervene and stop SAIL from dismantling the RMD. “I once again urge you to stop the dismantling of the RMD and keep its headquarters in Kolkata,” the minister wrote on Friday.
He added that since the BJP-led government came to power at the Centre “there is an ominous pattern of removing the headquarters of PSUs from Kolkata that have been here for half a century and even a century”. While the Tea Board has been here for about 67 years, the stock exchange was established in 1908.
“I reiterate that I am keenly awaiting your confirmation that RMD, headquartered in Kolkata, will not be dismantled, thereby saving the livelihoods of scores of workers. West Bengal and its people must not be deprived in this manner,” Mitra wrote on Friday.
In the letter sent earlier this week, the finance minister had alleged that the Centre had decided to relocate the RMD following the BJP’s heavy defeat in the state elections last month.
In the latest communication, Mitra wrote that in 2016 the corporate office of Hindustan Steel Works Construction Limited was shifted from Kolkata to Delhi while the Central Accounts Hub of State Bank of India was shifted from Kolkata to Mumbai. Last year, Coal India removed its subsidiary office while the headquarters of the United Bank of India was moved from Kolkata to Delhi.
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