NLC disinvestment: Workers to launch indefinite strike from 3 July
Chennai: Around 27,000 workers of the Neyveli Lignite Corporation or NLC plant in Tamil Nadu will launch an indefinite strike from July 3 asking the Centre to revoke its decision to sell its five percent stake in the corporation.
The NLC generates nearly 2400 MW of power out of which Tamil Nadu alone receives 1140 MW. Any disruption in power generation due to the strike could affect the already power starved state in a big way. The plant also supplies electricity to Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Union Territory of Puducherry.
Recently, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had written to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa explaining that the five percent disinvestment was meant to meet public shareholding norms for a Navaratna company.
But the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister called it an "artificial regulatory requirement" and warned the Centre that the move could trigger labour unrest at Neyvelli.
DMK chief Karunanidhi too has asked the Centre to revoke its decision to sell five percent of its stakes in the NLC. The Centre, he added, should consider the objection expressed by Chief Minister Ms Jayalalithaa who had also suggested exempting NLC by bringing about suitable amendments or delisting NLC by buying back the 6.44 percent in public hands.
Disinvestment of Centre's stakes in NLC has always been a touchy issue in the state. The workers are apprehensive that this could be a small beginning of a complete take over by private companies. Presently, the Centre owns 93.56 percent of the total share capital. Though the Centre initiated a similar move in 2006, it had to then abandon it following protest by workers and pressure from its then southern ally the DMK which ruled the state at that time.
As part of its corporate social responsibility, the plant presently supports community activities in around 25 villages nearby. Local people are also worried that this could stop once this public sector organisation turns into a private company.