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Merge NINL with RINL, staff appeal to FinMin

Tweet blames non-payment of wages for death of 17 employees

Merge NINL with RINL, staff appeal to FinMin

Merge NINL with RINL, staff appeal to FinMin

Visakhapatnam: In a last-ditch effort to save Neelachal Ispat Nigam Limited (NINL), which has a 1.1 million tonne integrated steel plant with captive iron ore mines in Odisha, the employees have urged Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to put a brake to privatisation of the company and merge it with Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited (RINL).

In a tweet, they appealed to FM to either merge NINL, which has the steel plant at Kalinganagar with RINL (which is also under 100 per cent privatisation) or with NMDC or SAIL. NINL executives in their tweet stated that so far 17 employees have died due to non-payment of salary since March, 2020. "NINL employees make fervent appeal to FM to save NINL by merging it with RINL or SAIL or NMDC," the tweet stated.

The Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) under the Ministry of Finance has already launched an exercise to sell 100 per cent Government of India shareholding in RINL, the corporate entity of Visakhapatnam Steel Plant. Rating agency ICRA stated in a report that RINL's performance has been volatile over the years. Between FY2015 and FY2020, the company reported operating losses in three years, and net losses in four years. The ability of the company to come back in the black on a sustained basis would remain a key credit rating driver, the report pointed out.

In a couple of letters to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, AP Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy had stated that lack of captive iron ore mines was the main reason for poor financial health of RINL. Ajit Kumar Pradhan, general secretary of NINL Executives' Association told Bizz Buzz on Monday they had already represented to Jagan Mohan Reddy and his Odisha counterpart Naveen Patnaik to explore merger of NINL with RINL, which is mutually beneficial. He said in order to provide relief to the employees of NINL, Ministry of Mines on March 9 had granted permission to sell 50 per cent of iron ore from its captive mines for the purpose of release of salary/wages and statutory dues.

Santosh Patnaik
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