The proposal is in advanced stage of consideration

The agonising wait by 1100-odd employees of Bharat Heavy Plate and Vessels (BHPV) for over five years for merger with Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL), a Navratna company, is likely to end in the first half of 2013.

Sources in the Ministry of Heavy Industries told The Hindu that the merger proposal, approved by BHEL board on May 23, is in advanced stage of consideration and the long-waited Cabinet note would be finalised after clearance from the ministries of Corporate Affairs and the Law.

After the formal Cabinet nod, the decision would be conveyed to the Board for Reconstruction of Public Sector Enterprises (BRPSE) for soliciting objections/suggestions. Once that process is over, there will be a gazette notification that BHPV ceases to exist.

“Everything is fine as of now. But the speed with which the issue is pursued is a bit slower than expected. My dream to come under direct payroll of BHEL could not be realised due to the delay,” regrets B.S. Verma, who retired recently at the age of 58.

Once BHPV is merged with BHEL, the employees will not only retire at 60 but also get 2007 pay scales. At present, the employees are getting 60 per cent of 1997 pay scales. Full benefit will be extended to them once the accumulated losses are absorbed up to 50 per cent. Pay scales of 2007 will be given with effect from date of merger as per agreement signed by the union leaders with the management.

BHPV, a city-based heavy engineering company set up in 1966 under the Companies Act, 1956, was made a wholly owned subsidiary of BHEL on May 10, 2008 despite an announcement by the Prime Minister at a public meeting in the city that it would be merged.

As part of revival, the Centre waived loans and interest of Rs.415 crore as on March 31, 2007 and other outstanding liabilities owed to banks. The State government, on its part, waived sales tax and excise duty worth Rs.42 crore and gifted away 383 acres (on which the plant and township are located) on payment of Re.1 towards registration fee.

“We are happy that things are moving in a positive direction. As per indications, it may take a few months to complete the formality of the merger,” BHPV National Employees’ Union general secretary V. Babu Rao, said.