IN AN attempt to revive the lost industrial glory, the Union Ministry for Textiles has set the ball rolling for the merger of the British India Corporation with the National Textile Corporation (NTC).
Union Minister for Textiles Shanker Singh Vaghela has given the go ahead for the proposed merger that is seen as the only way out to infuse a fresh lease of life in the BIC controlled mills in the city. In addition, when the process for merger completes other shortcomings will be addressed in a better way.
The problems include revised pay scale, restructuring of top management, marketing of products of two major woolen mills —Lalimli and Dhariwal— contributing heavily to o the economic stress of the BIC. Highly placed sources said the minister had directed the authorities to complete the merger process as early as possible.
“The process is on. A proposal carrying all details about the pre-requisites for merger is being drafted for the ministry. It’s just a matter of days,” said a high ranking official. Recently, in a letter Vaghela expressed his concern about poor performance of the BIC even after several formulaes were applied in futility.
He further stated that the main objective of the revival scheme was to make the PSUs operationally viable and reduce their dependence on the government for budgetary support and to utilise the resources available with them.
He observed that much progress had been made to bring the NTC on the revival path; however, the BIC had been found wanting in all fronts. Despite strong brand image, the BIC had not been able to capitalise and its inventories had been increasing day-by-day and the net worth was coming down.
Vaghela said that there was an urgent need to look into the matter seriously and explore various possibilities of making the BIC a viable unit. One possible way is to consider merger of the BIC with the NTC, which would not only help the sale of the BIC products through the NTC show rooms, but would benefit the sick BIC from the experience of the NTC.
It is worth mentioning that BIC’s revival is at present under question by the BIFR, however, several efforts are on to get its revival approved by the BIFR and therefore, the BICL management has submitted the modified draft for revival scheme (MDRS) and the same was under consideration with the BIFR.
However, during the last date of hearing for revival of BIC, a proposal for the amalgamation of two units, BIC with NTC, was proposed by the president of the Officers Association of the BIC, AN Bajpai before the BIFR stating that the merger would reduce administrative expenses and the NTC would have woolen products along with cotton and polyester. Besides, the NTC could also provide assistance in the management, modernization, renovation and rehabilitation of the industrial undertakings of the BIC.
However, similar suggestions to find out the feasibility of merger of the BIC with the NTC was requested to the Union Minister for Textiles by the local MP and Union Minister for Home Affairs Sri Prakash Jaiswal in June 2004. The step was taken on the request of the NTC Staff Association, said State General secretary of the Association.