Govt goes ahead with CIL stake sale despite strike threat

The government has moved ahead with the planned sale of a 5-per cent stake in Coal India Ltd (CIL) despite threat by workers of the state-run coal miner to go on a three-day strike to oppose the share sale.

The government today announced plans to sell 5 per cent equity of CIL through an auction on the stock exchanges, to raise over Rs8,400 crore, for which it has appointed merchant bankers.

"The government intends to disinvest 5 per cent of paid-up equity capital or over 315.8 million shares of CIL through offer for sale of shares by promoters through the stock exchanges," the disinvestment department said.

At the current market price of Rs268 per share, the 5 per cent stake sale would fetch Rs8,463 crore to the exchequer.

CIL trade unions on Wednesday decided to strike work from 19 to 21 September to oppose the government's proposal to divest shares in the public sector miner.

"All the unions have agreed to declare strike from September 19-21. The workers cannot be kept in vacuum," reports quoting Jivan Roy, general secretary of All India Coal Workers Federation of India (AICWF) as saying.

The workers federation of Coal India represent five leading trade unions - INTUC, HMS, BMS, AICWF and AITUC. All trade unions except Congress-sponsored INTUC are participating in the stir.

According to the unions, the stake sale would adversely impact CIL workers across 35 districts in the country.

The government currently holds 90 per cent stake in CIL.

The government plans to engage up to seven merchant bankers to manage the share sale and has invited bids from them by 26 August.