The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Advani for private role in key areas

New Delhi, Dec. 11: With the disinvestment gridlock finally resolved, deputy Prime Minister L. K. Advani today sought greater private initiative in sectors now under government control.

The rancour in the disinvestment debate centres on the selloff of two oil PSUs—HPCL and BPCL—and aluminium maker Nalco. The modalities of the selloff for the oil PSUs are likely to be resolved at a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Divestment (CCD) early next week, but much will depend on Attorney General Soli Sorabjee’s view on whether the two Acts under which HPCL and BPCL were nationalised back in the sixties need to be repealed before they are put on the block.

Inaugurating an international conference on aviation and tourism today, Advani said two areas where private initiative would be welcomed included aviation and tourism. “India has infinite prospects and talents at its disposal” and earnest efforts by both the public and private sectors were required, Advani said.

Meanwhile, civil aviation minister Shahnawaz Hussain ruled out the disinvestment of Air-India or Indian Airlines in the near future.

He said the draft document on the privatisation of four metro airports was ready and will be placed before the Union Cabinet for approval soon. He added that the restructuring of the four metro airports would be completed by October next year.

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