Millennium Post

Govt may sell surplus land of CPSEs under disinvestment at market rate

New Delhi: The Centre on Wednesday said the disinvestment process of Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) will be done in a transparent manner and surplus land of such units would be sold at commercial rates to states or any private party. Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan told Rajya Sabha during Question Hour that the surplus land issue of CPSEs will be "dealt with separately" during the disinvestment process.

The government has given in-principle approval for strategic disinvestment of 28 CPSEs including Rural Electrification Corporation Limited (REC) and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL).

Responding to a query if huge land given by state governments on lease to CPSEs, that will be divested, will be returned to them or not, the minister said, "The land was not given to respective PSUs as a charity."

The land was given as part of the deal and financial compensation for the same was also given to the respective state or individual, he said.

Pradhan said the government has two principles for dealing with land related issues in the disinvestment process. There is a provision in the law.

"Where the total business proposition needs a package of land for expansion for existing business, the land will remain with the entity. The surplus land will be delinked from the business proposition, it will be dealt with separately," he said.

The surplus land can be handed over to the market or respective state government on a financial transaction, he added.

"The surplus land will be dealt with after due diligence.

If a party or respective state comes (to buy), we are open to negotiate on a commercial deal," Pradhan noted.

In 2016-17, the government had consciously taken a decision that if in a proposal one portion of land is surplus then it will not be given to the new company as it is. It will be dealt with separately and commercially, he added.

Responding to another query on apprehension that CPSEs will be divested at a cheaper rate, the minister said, "Nothing will be in the dark. Nothing will be under cover.

Everything will be black and white, and transparent. The process is on."

On divestment of CPSEs, the minister said it is being done as the government has "no business to be in business" and gradually it has to withdraw itself from such businesses and focus more on welfare of people.

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