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Privatization of CEL neither justifiable nor in public interest: - EAS Sarma

Vinod Kumar | December 01, 2021 07:03 PM

CHANDIGARH:Former Union Secretary EAS Sarma has urged the Sitharaman Union Finance Minister to review the proposal of privatization of Central Electronics Ltd (CEL) as it was neither justifiable nor in the public interest.

E A S Sarma Former Secretary to Govt of India In a letter to Union Finance Minister
and others has questioned the sale of Central Electronics Ltd to a private financial intermediary company, Nandal Finance& Leasing Pvt ltd for an amount of Rs 210 Crores, which by any stretch of logic, the manner in which CEL is being sold does not seem to be justifiable.
He wondered that why should the government in such a haste to sell away CEL, that too, to a company that is far removed from the specialized activities of the public sector units.
Sarma said that the Parliamentary Committee on Science & Technology, in their 328th report placed before the two Houses of the Parliament on 3rd. March 2020, expressed their appreciation of CEL's efforts towards indigenization of several electronic items of importance.

CEL is no longer a loss-making unit, as it has turned the corner and started earning
profits. Therefore, it cannot be considered as a PSU that drains the public exchequer.

Even on the basis of an assessment of the assets available with CEL, the finalized disinvestment proceeds of Rs 210 crores bear no relationship whatsoever with their potential value. The market value of a 50-acre plot in the Sahibabad industrial area near Delhi alone works out to Rs 500 crores. The valuable urban property in Bengaluru, its plant and machinery is much more. Is it really worth the effort to sell all these valuable assets for a song?

Sarma said that under the "Atma Nirbhar" campaign, the capabilities built over five decades to have a larger role in work relating to solar PV, electronics and defense-related products should have been tapped, rather than selling them away to private companies that are far removed from such activity, spelling doom for such efforts.

Sarma said that he is somewhat apprehensive of private companies slipping
into the hands of overseas companies of dubious background, it will certainly hurt
the national interest. He has urged the authorities to get these concerns examined before rushing into selling CEL.

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