This BPCL unit will remain a PSU despite privatisation: Here’s why Numaligarh Refinery won’t be sold

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Updated: November 21, 2019 3:28:10 PM

Even as the government announced strategic divestment of the entire stake in Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL), Numaligarh Refinery, in which BPCL holds a majority stake, has been kept out of the plan.

On Thursday, Dharmendra Pradhan said that Numaligarh Refinery is out of the BPCL divestment plan due to the accord.

Even as the government announced strategic divestment of the entire stake in Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL), Numaligarh Refinery, in which BPCL holds a majority stake, has been kept out of the plan. In fact, the finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced that the refinery in Assam will be carved out of BPCL and will continue to remain a PSU. It was done due to the historic Assam Accord of 1985 signed between All India Assam Students Union (AISU) and the central government of the time after the 6-year long agitation against the immigrants. On Thursday, Dharmendra Pradhan, Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, also said that Numaligarh Refinery is out of the BPCL divestment plan due to the existing accord.

Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, on Wednesday, had petitioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking him to maintain the status of Numaligarh Refinery as PSU even if the BPCL is disinvested. Stake sale in the refinery will lead to dilution of its character after it goes into the private hands, Sarbananda Sonowal said in the letter.

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Numaligarh Refinery was set up in accordance with the provisions made in the Assam Accord signed on  August 15, 1985. It was conceived as a vehicle for the speedy industrial and economic development of the region. Located at Morangi, Golaghat district, Assam, the refinery is the country’s largest producer of paraffin wax. It is owned by Numaligarh Refinery Limited (NIL), a joint venture between Bharat Petroleum (61.65 per cent), Oil India (26 per cent) and Assam government (12.35 per cent). On Wednesday, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approved the sale of government’s entire 53.29 per cent stake along with transfer of management control in the country’s second-biggest state-owned refiner BPCL after taking out Numaligarh Refinery.

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