Kerala Assembly opposes sale of shares of Cochin Shipyard

Cochin Shipyard (Photo: vickymon, wikimapia)Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Assembly on Thursday adopted a motion urging the Centre to reconsider its move to disinvest 25 per cent of the shares of Cochin Shipyard Limited.

The motion, moved by Chief Minister Pinarai Vijayan, also urged the Centre to withdraw the decision to close down the Hindusthan Organic Chemicals unit in Kochi and approve the revival package for the company. It also called upon the Centre to protect Central sector units in the State, most of which were facing problems.

Regarding Cochin Shipyard, the motion noted that it was a tactically important shipyard which had built an aircraft carrier for Indian Navy. Sale of its shares would be against national interest.

The substantive motion was adopted at the end of a debate taken up on the basis of a motion moved by S. Sarma (CPI-M) to raise discussion on the situation arising from the Centre’s moves to disinvest shares of Shipyard and close the Organic Chemicals unit.

Winding up the discussion, the Chief Minister said that several of the public sector units in the State were in crisis on account of policies of the Central government. Its import policies had hit the sales of some of the products manufacturing by public sector units.

He also said that the investment in public sector had been coming down over the years. Moreover, Kerala’s share in the investment was also coming down. While the State’s share in Central investments was 2.2 per cent in 2012-13, it had come down to 1.43 per cent in 2013-14.

On the basis of its population, Kerala merited a share of 3 per cent. However, it never received such a share and this showed clear neglect of the State by the Centre.  Pressure should be applied on the Centre to change this situation.

Earlier, moving his motion, Mr. Sarma said expansion programmes of the Shipyard should be carried out without going for disinvestment. Approval should be granted to the company to raise funds through issue of bonds.

He said that the Hindusthan Organic Chemicals faced a crisis because of losses of its unit in Maharastra. Its employees were not getting salaries for the past 15 months.