NLC issue: Centre asks Tamil Nadu to send officer

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Responding favourably to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s offer to buy 5 per cent equity in Neyveli Lignite Corporation (NLC), the Union government’s Disinvestment Department has written to the State to depute an officer to discuss the modalities for the proposed sale.

A communication to this effect was sent to Chief Secretary Sheela Balakrishnan, according to Ravi Mathur, Secretary of the Department of Disinvestment, which comes under the Union Finance Ministry.

Mr. Mathur told journalists here on Sunday that discussions among the Central and State governments and the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) would cover a number of issues, including pricing.

About 10 days ago, in a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Ms. Jayalalithaa offered to purchase the stake through State public sector undertakings.

Mr. Mathur said the SEBI had agreed to consider her offer.

It was up to the Coal Ministry (under whose administrative control comes the NLC) to discuss the implications of the latest development with the NLC management and unions, which had been on strike since July 3 to protest the disinvestment move, he said.

SEBI had set an August 8 deadline for all listed Central public sector units to have a minimum 10 per cent public shareholding.

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