Initial setback for ASP Durgapur disinvestment process

Inside Alloy Steels Plant Durgapur

Durgapur News Desk, 19 April 2017: There seems to be some sort of relief among the workers of Durgapur-based Alloy Steels Plant (ASP) after the extended last date seeking application to engage a transaction advisor for managing the divestment process of three Steel Authority of India (SAIL) units including ASP found no takers.

SAIL had in February invited proposal for engagement of the transaction advisor for strategic divestment of Alloy Steels Plant, Durgapur (ASP), Salem Steel Plant, Salem (SSP) and Visvesvaraya Iron and Steel Plant, Bhadrawati (VISP). The last date for the submission of bids from reputed professional consulting firm, investment bankers, merchant bankers, financial institutions, banks, etc for providing advisory services and managing the disinvestment process was April 3. But the last date had to be extended to 17 April, after no company showed interest in the Request for Proposal (RFP) invited by the PSU

The advisor was supposed to undertake tasks related to all aspects of the strategic disinvestment culminating into successful completion of the transaction. The advisor was also supposed to advice SAIL on the modalities and the timing of the strategic disinvestment, and prepare and submit a detailed operational scheme to successfully implement the stake sale process, including tentative timelines for each activity.

The joint forum of trade unions including central trade unions like CITU, AITUC, INTUC, UTUC and others have been relentlessly opposing the disinvestment bid ever since SAIL during a regulatory filing in November last year, disclosed that the Government of India, Ministry of Steel, has communicated the ‘in-principle’ approval of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) for strategic disinvestment of the three SAIL units.

The ASP unit of SAIL which once had employee strength of 7400 currently has only 954 employees in its payroll.

CITU joint secretary Sourav Dutta, expressed satisfaction after the strategic disinvestment bid of SAIL got jolt in its very first phase. He said that the relentless fight of SAIL workers, including the workers of ASP is the principle reason for no company showing any interest in being a part of the strategic disinvestment process.

INTUC Burdwan district president, Bikash Ghatak also termed it as the victory of working class.

Now it is to be seen as to how, SAIL management and the Steel ministry takes up the issue of disinvestment of these three SAIL units.

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