Mamata against BPCL and HPCL privatisation

Vol 6, PW 10 (17 Jul 02) People & Policy

Opposition to the privatisation of Bharat and Hindustan Petroleum has come from an unlikely source: Mamata Banerjee, MP and chief of the West Bengal-based Trinamul Congress, and a member of prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee's ruling BJP coalition.

We learn of a letter written by Banerjee in the last week of May to Vajpayee in which she states that "profit making PSUs (state companies) like BPCL and HPCL should not be privatised". Her letter supports a detailed note by the Bengal Oil and Petrol Workers Association that sets out a series of (emotional) arguments against privatisation.

HPCL and BPCL are profit-making companies and have given some of the highest revenues to the exchequer Both companies have contributed to social causes HPCL and BPCL have stood by the country in times of crisis and natural disasters They have created direct employment and together employ 24,000 people Privatisation of 'Navratna' (Crown Jewel) PSUs will be a severe blow to the nation Experience of the past shows that private companies have not co-operated with the government during war