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New CMD appointed for RINL as unions firm against privatisation

The new incumbent’s tenure will be up to Nov 30, 2024 or until further orders

Atul Bhatt, RINL CMD

Atul Bhatt, RINL CMD

Visakhapatnam: PRESIDENT of India has appointed Atul Bhatt as the Chairman-cum-Managing Director of Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited, the corporate entity of Visakhapatnam Steel Plant. He will take charge at a time when unions under the banner of Ukku Parirakshana Porata Samiti have decided to intensify protests against privatisation decision cleared by the Union Cabinet. The appointment will come into force from the date of assuming office till superannuation on November 30, 2024 or until further orders.

The post fell vacant following retirement of PK Rath in May. Directors KC Das and DK Mohanty were subsequently appointed to hold additional charge of the top post. Bhatt, presently CMD of MECON, assumes charge at a time when Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) under the Ministry of Finance has undertaken an exercise for privatisation of RINL amid stiff opposition by the trade unions.

At present, the process is on for engaging transaction and legal advisors to facilitate calling of expression of interest for acquiring RINL, its joint ventures and subsidiaries. The Visakhapatnam-headquartered public sector unit is India's first shore-based integrated steel plant. According to Ministry of Finance, the privatisation of RINL, which has debt worth Rs 22,000 crore, will infuse funds for its future expansion. The steel plant has a capacity to produce 7.3 million tonnes per annum. The company had invested Rs16,300 crore to increase capacity from 3 to 7.3 million tonnes and capital repairs of blast furnaces. AP Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy wrote two letters to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and adopted a resolution in the Assembly to explore other options such as converting loans into equity, funding through IPO route, granting of captive iron ore mines and monetisation of part its lands to prevent privatisation. "There is unnecessarily an attempt mainly by the Left parties to damage the prospects of privatising RINL to infuse more funds for a secured future," BJP leader and MLC PVN Madhav, told Bizz Buzz.

Santosh Patnaik
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