Even though Neyveli Lignite Corporation has attained Navratna status, the Model Code of Conduct in force has prevented it from either publicising it or organising any celebrations.
The NLC cannot openly declare its coveted status till the results of the Assembly elections are out.
On April 11 President Pratibha Patil handed over the certificate, conferring Navratna title on NLC, to Chairman-cum-Managing Director A.R. Ansari in the presence of Union Minister for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises Praful Patel in New Delhi.
Even the NLC employees discuss in hushed tones about its elevated status. It has now shaken off the Mini Ratna status, which it had for about a decade. However, the NLC on its website www.nlcindia.com and in its tender notices, has mentioned itself as a Navratna company.
Regardless of its status the NLC would have to vie with any other power sector companies, both private and public, to get the future projects. However, with Navratna status to its credit the NLC is now fully empowered to take a decision on expansion, acquisitions and mergers.
Of course, the NLC will yet require the nod of the Centre but not the approval, in the formal sense. The Board of Directors is now empowered to decide on the new projects to be launched by the NLC.
The NLC has been improving upon its performance year after year and the statistics for the year 2010-11 are as follows: it excavated a total of 231.44 lakh tonnes of lignite, generated 17,879.54 million units of power and exported 14,969.85 million units of power during the period.
With two units of Thermal Power Station-II Expansion slated to go on stream within six months and Barsingsar project in Rajasthan expected to show profits, the stock of NLC is bound to go up several notches.