New minister hopes to turn sick industries around

April 12th, 2008 - 6:31 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

Ranchi, April 12 (IANS) The newly inducted union Minister of State for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises Raghunath Jha, on a two-day visit to Jharkhand, said Saturday that no political interference would be allowed in the functioning of public sector companies. Talking to reporters here, the minister said: “Under the heavy industries ministry, there are a total of 48 industries. Half of the total industries are either sick or in a very poor condition.

“We will try to revive the sick industries. We would not tolerate any political interference in the functioning of the industries,” Jha said.

Asked about the steps he intends to take to revive the sick units, the minister said: “Let me find out the status of the industries. I joined just a week ago, and let me understand the conditions of the industries. The aim of our ministry is to ensure the profit making companies should post more profit and revive the sick units.”

Jha assessed the condition of public sector company, Heavy Engineering Company (HEC), and said: “We are happy that the company, which was recommended by the BIFR (Board for Industrial & Financial Reconstruction) to close down, has posted profit for two successive years.

“The company is completing 50 years and we will request Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to attend the golden jubilee celebration in August this year.”

Asked about the revival package for the HEC, Jha said: “A cabinet note has been prepared. It has been sent to the group of ministers (GOM). Once the GOM approves the package, then it will be sent to cabinet for final approval”.

The central package for HEC includes revision of pay package of employees and increasing retirement age from 60 to 62. The government would also be the guarantor for loans up to Rs.2.5 billion for HEC from banks.

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