Members of the All Assam Students’ Union on Monday staged a protest outside the Numaligarh Refinery in eastern Assam’s Golaghat district to oppose the Centre’s bid to disinvest Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited.
BPCL holds 61.65% share of the refinery established in 1993, based on the conditions of the Assam Accord of 1985 that ended a six-year agitation for the ejection of illegal immigrants from the State.
“The refinery is the result of the sacrifice of 855 people who laid down their lives during the agitation. We will oppose the government’s move to privatise the refinery that the people of Assam are sentimental about,” said AASU general secretary Lurinjyoti Gogoi.
The Numaligarh Refinery Employees’ Union too has opposed the proposed disinvestment. The union has submitted a memorandum to Kamakhya Prasad Tasa, a Rajya Sabha Member from Assam, and would be writing to other MPs from the State besides Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on the issue.
“Valued at ₹5,500 crore, the best-functioning Mini-ratna in the country has been functioning since 2001 and had generated a revenue of more than ₹30,000 crore for the nation’s and State’s exchequer till 2018-19, thus contributing to the economic growth of the nation,” the union said in a statement.
The AASU said the Centre should drop the idea of privatising a profit-making refinery and rather plan to expand its refining capacity from 300 million tonnes to 900 million tonnes.