Thursday, Aug 29, 2002
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By Our Special Correspondent
The entire privatisation issue had been put on the back burner following the revelations in the petrol pumps scam but the Disinvestment Ministry has been pushing for an early decision. The two oil companies -HPCL and BPCL-have simultaneously sought the Cabinet clearance for initial public offers (IPOs) to enable them to raise funds for fresh investments. The Petroleum Ministry was of the view that the IPOs should be taken up first and the disinvestment later while the Disinvestment Ministry had proposed the reverse with strategic sale being taken up first to be followed by the IPOs at a later stage.
On the rescheduling of the CCD meeting, Mr. Naik said the meeting had not been postponed on his account as he was leaving for a foreign trip only tomorrow night. It was for "other reasons'' that the CCD meeting had been postponed, he said. The Minister will be leaving for Brazil to attend the World Petroleum Congress and will return by September 6 to attend the CCD meeting.
He told newspersons that he had no knowledge of any letter written by Mr. Fernandes to the Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee. He said the factual position is that Mr. Fernandes is not a member of the CCD, which is headed by the Prime Minister.
The meeting of the CCD is likely to discuss a proposal by the Disinvestment Ministry to bar all public sector companies in the oil sector from bidding for a strategic equity stake either in the HPCL or the BPCL.
Till now only the IOC has been barred from the bidding as it had already taken over another oil sector company, IBP. In the case of BPCL, 36 per cent Government shareholding is proposed to be sold and 26 per cent in the case of the HPCL.
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