Naveen started Nalco disinvestment process in 1998: Gamang

Bhubaneswar: Terming the ruling BJD’s opposition to Nalco’s share sale as “ironical”, former Union Mines Minister Giridhar Gamang today accused Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik of recommending disinvestment of the Central Public Sector Unit when the latter was in charge of mines ministry in 1998.

“It was Naveen Patnaik as the union mines minister during NDA government in 1998 who recommended 30 per cent disinvestment of Nalco. Patnaik had given Nalco disinvestment recommendation to the Finance Ministry,” Gamang, also a former Chief Minister of Odisha told PTI.

Gamang said, BJD has no point to blame UPA government for the disinvestment of Nalco. “Ask your leader first before opposing Nalco’s disinvestment,” Gamang asked the ruling party leaders who recently held a series of demonstrations at Damonjodi, Angul and Bhubaneswar.

Stating that the 7th meeting of the Disinvestment Committee had finalised 30 per cent disinvestment of Nalco during the NDA period, Gamang pointed out that he as the MP of Koraput district, had filed a PIL in the Orissa High Court in 2003 challenging the decision to sell Nalco’s share.

As the Union Cabinet this month decided to sale 12.15 per cent of Nalco’s share, Gamang again requested the High Court to re-open the PIL made in 2003. The court has meanwhile issued notices to the parties concerned, Gamang said.

Gamang claimed that his efforts have yielded results as Nalco had already been declared as a Navratna company in 2006. “The Centre has to retain at least 75 per cent of share if the PSU is a Navratna company,” Gamang said adding that the government cannot undertake further disinvestment as the Centre’s share in Nalco will be 75 per cent after sale of 12.15 per cent of share.

While the employees took to the streets agitating against the UPA government over Nalco disinvestment issue, Gamang reminded all that Patnaik was responsible for the entire process.

While Patnaik was not immediately available for comment over Gamang’s allegation, BJD MLA and party’s youth wing president Sanjay Dasburma said: “I do not have any information about Gamang’s allegation. But, I can say that the Nalco’s disinvestment process started during the NDA government.”