New Delhi: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has sought the intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in curtailing the Centre’s move to privatise Bharat Petroleum company. “I would like to draw your kind attention to the reported move to privatize Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited and request your intervention to retain the entity in public sector,” stated Pinarayi Vijayan‘s written letter to PM Modi, as per news agency ANI.
Notably, the central government has planned to sell India’s second-largest state refiner and fuel retailer BPCL to foreign and private firms, stated a report. However, officials claimed that the privatisation plan will need prior approval from the Parliament.
The government is mulling on selling a majority of its 53.3 per cent stake in Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) to a strategic partner as a tactic to boost competition by inviting multi-nationals in the domestic fuel retailing sector, stated officials, according to news agency PTI. Besides, this plan to privatise BPCL will help the government achieve at least a third of its Rs 1.05 lakh crore disinvestment target.
In September 2003, the Supreme Court had ruled that the BPCL can be privatised only after the Parliament amends the Nationalisation Act through which the company was earlier nationalised. The ruling had come after the then BJP-led NDA government headed by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had moved the court seeking to privatise the firm.
According to officials, presently the BPCL will be an attractive buy for companies ranging from Saudi Aramco of Saudi Arabia to French energy giant Total SA which are vying to enter the world’s fastest-growing fuel retail market, stated news agency PTI.
The Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited was earlier known as Burmah Shell. In 1976, the company was nationalised by Parliament with the passing of the Nationalisation bill. Established in the 1920s, Burmah Shell was an alliance between Royal Dutch Shell and Burmah Oil Co and Asiatic Petroleum (India).