PetroMin To Take On Modi For Oil Cos Pie Tomorrow

New Delhi, January 24: | Updated: Jan 25 2003, 05:30am hrs
The Cabinet Committee on Disinvestment (CCD) will meet on January 26 to deliberate upon disinvestment in Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL).

Even though an informal meeting on December 6 last year, under Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, approved a compromise formula on the issue of oil sector privatisation, the ministries of disinvestment and petroleum are likely to clash on the several issues related to disinvestment in HPCL and BPCL. Broadly, the formula was for the privatisation of HPCL and the public sale of BPCL equity.

Shourie Gives Up On Target
Our Economic Bureau

Bangalore, January 24: Minister of disinvestment Arun Shourie expressed his unhappines over the pace of reforms and disinvestment process.
On the government again failing to meet the disinvestment target, he said that there was no meaning in having a target in the present circumstances.
I do not now regard any figure as a target. Because everybody is going to be obstructing it with court cases and strikes, state governments saying one thing or the other then what is the point of the target, the divestment minister said. uMr Shourie said unless everybody put his shoulder to the same wheel no target can be acheived.
Earlier, addressing the meeting of the Federation of Indian Export Organisation Mr Shourie said the only rational for the existance of ministry of commerce is to help exporters from the country. Mr Shourie said that officials in the ministry should develop an attitude of partnerships with exporters and state governments. The minister also had a meeting with the industry ministers from three Southern states regarding the problems faced by them in promoting exports.

The formula, however, failed to bring any peace between the warring ministries as the administrative ministry continued its opposition to privatisation and the ministry of disinvestment (MoD) insisting on the sale of the two oil companies. MoD proposes 34 per cent strategic sale of HPCL and the offloading of 38 per cent BPCL shares in the market. At present, the government holds 51 per cent of HPCL equity and 66 per cent BPCL shares.

An important issue of differences between the two ministries is the eligibility of Oil Natural Gas Corporation to bid for the two public sector undertakings (PSUs) on the block.

The Republic Day meeting has been called following the receipt of a favourable legal opinion from attorney general Soli Sorabjee on privatisation of the two oil PSUs. Disinvestment minister Arun Shourie would cut short his Chennai visit by a day to attend the crucial CCD meet, sources said.