Central government has invited expression of interest to disinvest 26% shares in PSU
The Central government’s move to disinvest 26% shares in the profit-making mini ratna public sector company Bharat Earth Movers Ltd. (BEML) has met with strong opposition not only from thousands of employees, but also from the State government.
Although there was an attempt to privatise BEML by the first Narendra Modi government in 2016, the Centre had to abandon the move following opposition. The employees of BEML’s Kanjikode unit have been staging a protest against the latest move to sell off the mini ratna PSU since the Central government invited an expression of interest in the first week of this month.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking the Centre to withdraw the move, especially as BEML was performing well in global competition. But the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government appears adamant on disinvestment.
The BEML Employees Association is planning to strengthen their protest against the Centre’s move.
A people’s court is being planned at Kanjikode on February 5.
Former Army officers, judges and economists will take part in the people’s court.
A human chain will be formed from BEML unit at Kanjikode to Instrumentation Ltd. on February 17. BEML Employees Association general secretary S. Gireesh said that a two-day vehicle rally would also be organised through the Palakkad town in February to spread awareness among the people.
Models of the heavy equipment built at BEML’s Kanjikode unit will also be displayed in the town as part of the agitation against disinvestment.
The Centre is going ahead with disinvestment move at a time when BEML has secured orders worth more than ₹10,000 crore through global tenders.
A company engaged in the manufacturing of heavy military vehicles, rail and metro coaches, and mining and construction vehicles, the BEML has four units across the country — Bengaluru, Kolar, Mysuru and Kanjikode.
The Kanjikode unit near here, functioning on 375 acres of leased land given by the State government, manufactures army vehicles, passenger railway coaches, and metro coaches. It has 350 permanent employees and 150 contract workers.
BEML’s Kanjikode unit has already churned out 1,500-odd heavy military trucks, 300 railway coaches and 500-odd metro bogies. The unit is equipped to produce 500 metro bogies a year.
“Disinvesting BEML, especially when the company is soaring by bagging global tenders, is deplorable. It is going to strike a severe blow not only on the work force, but also on our general economy,” said Mr. Gireesh.