M A I N   N E W S

Govt to sell stakes in three power firms
R. Suryamurthy
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 8
The government’s fresh attempt to dilute its stake in three state-run power firms through the IPO route could run into roadblock with the Left parties opposing it.
“The government will be piggybacking on the IPOs of Rural Electrification Corporation (REC), Power Grid Corporation of India (PGCIL) and National Hydro-Electric Power Corporation to raise Rs 1,500 crore for the NIF, which has no funds currently”, Finance Minister P Chidambaram told reporters after a Cabinet meeting.

“It is not a stand-alone disinvestment. We are piggy-backing on the IPOs to compensate for the dilution of our equity,” he said

The three PSUs together are targeting to raise Rs 2,400 crore, he said adding this was based on the estimated current book value of these unlisted companies.

The CPM polit bureau said the money garnered in the IPO would go to the companies concerned, the government has decided to disinvest shares owned by it to the tune of about Rs 1,500 crore. “This is are successful, more such trains linking state capitals would be introduced.

While two Garib Raths, one between Saharsa in Bihar and Amritsar in Punjab and another between Patna and Delhi, were in operation, another two between Delhi and Mumbai and Delhi and Chennai are to be launched before March 31.

Speaking at an infrastructure conference here, Prasad had said a comprehensive scheme involving the investment of Rs 3,00,000 crore in the next five years was being planned, and 40 per cent of the funds are expected to come from public- private partnerships.

He also announced the setting up of a public-private partnership (PPP) cell in the railway ministry to woo investments to develop and modernise rail transport. “In order to attract private investment through PPP, there is a need for a policy which ensures adequate profits to investors...We have decided to set up a PPP cell headed by the chairman of the Railway Board to attract private participation,” he said. The cell will prepare policy for projects. Private players are expected to be involved in running container trains, constructing dedicated freight corridors, modernising railway stations and establishing logistic parks and warehouses, he said. — PTI



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