Union Coal Minister Shriprakash Jaiswal on Tuesday said Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s suggestion that the State government was willing to purchase 5 per cent of paid up equity, which the Centre proposed to disinvest in the State-owned Neyveli Lignite Corportion (NLC) in Tamil Nadu, was under the consideration of the government of India.

Ms. Jayalalithaa’s suggestion had been referred to the Securities Exchange Board of India (Sebi) to ascertain if such a sale was permitted within the Securities Contracts (Regulation) Rules, 1957. The government of India had a share holding of 93.56 per cent in NLC.

In a statement, Mr. Jaiswal appealed to trade unions and associations, which had give a notice for an indefinite strike from July 3, not to go on strike as the Chief Minister’s suggestions were being examined. Ms. Jayalalithaa, reiterating her opposition to the disinvestment proposal announced by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs a few days ago, in a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, said the decision had created anxiety and uncertainty in the minds of NLC workers and local people.

“I am afraid this unrest may spread and continue for a long time, leading to the eventual shutdown of the power plants in Neyveli,” she said.

For a State already reeling under power scarcity, such a situation would hurt the economy and cause great hardship to the people, she added.