The Communist Party of India (CPI) has urged the Centre to invite Tamil Nadu government to discuss its offer to buy 5 per cent share in the Neyveli Lignite Corporation (NLC).

Speaking to The Hindu on Saturday, D. Raja, national secretary, CPI, said the party was of the firm view that it would oppose disinvestment move of public sector undertakings (PSU) in any form. However, there was nothing wrong in initiating a formal discussion with the Tamil Nadu government, which had inclined to acquire 5 per cent share of Central government in NLC.

There was a clear difference between a private entity and State government in acquiring equity of a PSU. There was no need to express doubts about the alternative move proposed by the Tamil Nadu government to thwart the chances of private firms in buying share of NLC. It might have thought that it would be in an advantage situation if it had share in NLC when the State was facing shortage of electricity. Hence, the Centre should sit with the Tamil Nadu government to evolve a mechanism.

While expressing support to the trade unions of NLC, which had called for an indefinite strike against the disinvestment plan, Mr. Raja said it was unfortunate that the Centre had been following adamant attitude when all trade unions and workers had joined together for safeguarding their future and the profit making PSU. It was nothing but an attempt to privatise the PSUs. It was not good for economy of the country. The PSUs should not be viewed as a few industries. These were the strong foundations of India’s economy. If attempts were made to dismantle the foundation then they would have cascading effect in the country’s economy as well.

On claims over inefficient handling of Uttarakhand flood havoc by the State government, he said it was a natural disaster. It was a time for rescue, rehabilitation and rebuilding the State, which had faced unprecedented damage.

It was not a time for the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress to play politics on the lives of people. The nation must be proud of tremendous work done by the Indian Army, IBTP and other paramilitary forces in the aftermath of disaster.

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