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National Fertiliser divestment deferred

Ludhiana, Sept. 14 (PTI): Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee has agreed to defer disinvestment in National Fertiliser Ltd (NFL) at least by two years, Union minister for chemical and fertilisers, Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa said here today.

“Only last week, I had a long meeting on the issue with the Prime Minister, during which he said it would be premature to disinvest in NFL, given the demand and supply of urea in the market,” he said.

The buyer may cause “unforeseen problems” to farmers on availability and prices by changing NFL’s systems or re-orienting them to suit his goals, he said. “The government could not take any chances where the welfare and future of the farmers was directly involved,” he added.

The deferment comes days after the three bidders for NFL quoted prices that were below the reserve price. The three bidders were Birla group promoted Zuari Chambal Fertilisers, Indo-Gulf Fertilisers and state supported Krishak Bharti Cooperative (Kribhco). The government had decided to disinvest 51 per cent stake in NFL to a strategic partner along with management control.

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