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Chennai: The central government seems more concerned about financial markets than people's welfare, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa said, on New Delhi's decision to divest five percent holding in Neyveli Lignite Corp Ltd (NLC).
In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, she said: "I am surprised to find from your letter that signalling to financial markets has taken precedence over the welfare of thousands of workers and the concerns of the people of Tamil Nadu, as articulated by their democratically elected government."
Expressing her dismay on the contents of Singh's June 8 letter and and the approval of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) for the disinvestment of NLC's shares, she said: "This is yet another instance in which the central government has ridden roughshod over the very legitimate and genuine concerns of the people of Tamil Nadu."
Referring the stock market slump, Jayalalithaa wondered if the central government would be in a position to realise the true value of NLC shares.
Referring to Singh's statement that the NLC management had consulted trade unions and employees on the divestment issue, Jayalalithaa said almost all the workers union have opposed the decision.
Citing the announcements of NLC trade unions to protest against the divestment, Jayalalithaa said: "The central government's hasty and poorly reasoned actions have left the government of Tamil Nadu facing entirely avoidable potential labour unrest which could further exacerbate the difficult power situation in the state."
According to her, the NLC disinvestment issue should not be seen merely from the point of view of complying with the Securites and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) rules or with sending out market signals.
"Rather, the wider ramifications must be kept note of," she added.
Jayalalithaa had earlier suggested to Singh that the government can buy back the shares held by public and go for delisting or amend the Securities Contracts (Regulation) Rules, 1957 to exempt NLC as a special case from the 10 percent minimum public holding stipulation.
This view has found favour with DMK president M. Karunanidhi.