Lok Satta

Tuesday, 13 December 2011 13:08

Undo Nizam Sugar Factory Privatization: Dr.JP

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Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan today demanded immediate annulment of the privatization of the Nizam Sugar Factory (NSF). Either the State Government should take it back or hand it over to a company to be floated by farmers, he told a media conference.

Dr. JP recalled that a Committee of the Legislative Assembly formed during the regime of Dr. Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy had in August 2006 unanimously recommended that privatization of the NSF should be undone as it was detrimental to the interests of the State, especially the people of the Telangana region.

It is tragic that both the Congress and the Telugu Desam Party which have vied with each other in stoking regional feelings and cried hoarse about injustice to Telangana have remained silent on the committee report submitted more than five years ago. They have not even bothered to heed the High Court which in a case filed by NSF cane growers on August 28, 2007 directed the Government to take a decision within six weeks.

Mr. M. Appireddy, leader of NSF sugarcane farmers, demanded that politicians and officials who privatized the NSF under the false pretext it was making losses should be punished. The Government parted with NSF assets worth Rs.500 crore for a paltry Rs.67 crore and offered concessions worth about Rs.300 crore to the private bidder, besides paying Rs.12 crore as VRS compensation to employees. The buyer of the NSF has not paid a single pie to the Government towards the purchase price so far. Considering all this, the House Committee wanted the Government to take the NSF back.

Mr. Appireddy added that the private management had sacked 1800 of the 2200 employees in violation of the terms of privatization. As a result, as many as 120 farmers committed suicide or died of starvation in the Bodhan factory area alone, he said.

Dr. JP wanted the State Government to announce the State Advisory Price for sugarcane without further delay since it enjoys powers under the Andhra Pradesh Sugarcane (Regulation of Supply and Purchase) Act, 1961. If it believes that it cannot, it had better amend the Act as the Tamil Nadu Government has done. He asked the Government to ensure that cane farmers get at least Rs.2500 a ton.

Commenting on the Standing Committee report on the Lokpal Bill, Dr.JP said it was silent on making the CBI independent and the CVC part of the Lokpal. He recalled that the fomer Illinois Governor had been sentenced to undergo a 14-year jail term for corruption because the US had an independent FBI. So long as the CBI does not remain autonomous, it will be merely a tool in the hands of the Government. The committee is silent on providing for independent prosecution in all cases and attachment of properties of the corrupt.

Messrs Ajay Desai, G. Rajareddy, P. Bhaskara Rao,T. Srinivas, K. Gita Murthy took part in the media conference.