Lok Sabha clears bill to revive sick textile units

New Delhi: To speed up revival of sick textile units, Lok Sabha today passed a bill to free the ailing National Textile Corporation, which has property worth Rs 25 lakh crore, from rent control laws.

The Textile Undertakings (Nationalisation) Laws (Amendment and Validation) Bill, 2014 replaces an ordinance passed by the government.

"We are not here to sell the land....We want to revive the mills. We want to make a package for the revival," Textile Minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar said in his reply to the debate on the bill.

"We need to evolve various ways and means to run the mills. It is our objective to give employment to more and more people," he said, adding that the government would come up with a new textile policy soon.

The bill aims to ensure proper and effective implementation of the revival scheme for sick textile units.

According to the bill, there is a need "to protect public investment in the acquired textile undertakings to explicitly clarify the status of such vesting of the lease-hold rights in the central government".

The ordinance route was taken to shield the NTC from rent control laws that have been used to evict its sick textile units from prime land in several cities.

"NTC mills are turning around and government is committed to turning them around. NTC has properties worth Rs 25 lakh crore. The Bill would help to run the NTC smoothly so that in future there is no complaint against the runing of NTC," Gangwar said while moving the bill.

He assured the House that the the Centre will work with the Maharashtra government to build "a very good memorial" of Babasaheb Ambedkar on NTC's Indu Mill land in Mumbai.

Members in the opposition wanted the government to ensure that NTC land is effectively utilised given the fact that the land worth of NTC is more than that of gold.

During the discussion, members made a strong pitch to revive the ailing NTC mills to give a fair deal to workers.

Initiating discussion on the Bill, Ashok Chavan (Cong) said the government should ensure better functioning of NTC, which has over 2,000 acres of land area under sick mills.

He said the mills should function in such a way so that it is competitive with the private sector and also hike the minimum support price (MSP) to cotton farmers.

Saugata Roy (TMC) said that lack of modernisation turned the mills sick as joint venture mechanism has not worked for reviving them.

A public sector enterprise, NTC was set up in April 1968 for managing the affairs of sick textile undertakings in the private sector, taken over by the government. Starting with 16 mills, the number went up to 119. Out of the 119 mills, only 23 mills are currently operational.

Yogi Adityanath (BJP) said it would be a very important legislation for mill workers and urged government to include UP-based defunct textile mills under its revival plan.

Nimmala Krishnappa (TDP) stressed on the need for protecting handloom sector and rules meant for benefit of it are being ignored in textile sector.

Arun Kumar (RLSP) supported the bill and hoped that it will turn around the sector.

Nanabhau Falgunrao Patole (BJP) highlighted the poor condition of mill workers, who were laid off as mills closes, and how factory lands were sold to real estate developed for crores without former employees being given due benefits.

Opposing certain provisions of the bill, Mullappally Ramachandran (Cong) said government's real intention was to sell lands occupied by mills in the name of reviving them.

Among those who participated in the discussion were Kalikesh Narayan Singh Deo (BJD), Poonam Mahajan (BJP), Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury (Cong), K Srihari Rao (TRS) and K H Muniyappa (Cong).

PTI

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Updated Date: Dec 01, 2014 19:47:56 IST