Govt cuts disinvestment target for CIL to 5%

The government had suggested selling 10 per cent stake in Coal India to raise Rs 20,000 crore

Written by ENS Economic Bureau | New Delhi | Published: July 31, 2013 1:38:44 am

Intensified opposition by Coal India Ltd’s leading trade unions has compelled the government to reduce its stake sale in the PSU to only 5 per cent as against 10 per cent proposed earlier.

The government had suggested selling 10 per cent stake in Coal India to raise Rs 20,000 crore,but the trade unions firmly resisted it and warned of resorting to nation-wide strike. But after a nearly two-hour meeting with the union leaders on Tuesday,coal minister Sriprakash Jaiswal claimed breakthrough in the talks saying the unions have agreed to selling of 5 per cent official stake in the company. “On the advise of trade unions we have decided that instead of 10 per cent there would disinvestment of 5 per cent,” he said after the meeting.

He indicated that for as much amount of further disinvestment,the unions have agreed to other mechanism like share buyback. A meeting between coal ministry and CIL worker unions held on July 23 to resolve the disinvestment issue had remained inconclusive. CIL employees had earlier threatened to go on strike if the government went ahead with 10 per cent stake sale in the PSU major.

“There is no scope for any labour unrest or strike,” Jaiswal had said. An official said the ministry is willing to meet the unions again on other issues also. The government currently holds 90 per cent stake in Coal India,which is valued at Rs 1,88,227 crore.

CIL got listed on bourses in 2010 through the country’s biggest-ever initial public offering,in which the government raised Rs 15,199 crore by selling 10 per cent stake. Coal India has a cash balance of about Rs 60,000 crore.

But even now,for the record,the trade unions are maintaining they would not allow any amount of disinvestment in the PSU. Saying they are not interested to talk with the coal ministry further on this issue,prominent trade union leader Jibon Roy said that leaders of five unions,representing about 3.57-lakh workers have opposed the move.

“We are against any stake sale in Coal India. There should be no disinvestment,” Roy said.

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