Govt eyes ‘PSUs with land but little biz’ for selloff

NEW DELHI: The government is identifying public sector companies that are sitting on land banks, with little or no business, that can be privatised or sold off.
The government has set up a special purpose vehicle — National Land Monetisation Corporation (NLMC), a wholly owned outfit, which will aggregate land from all PSUs that are either being wound up or being sold, but there are state-run players which have not transferred the surplus land with them.
For instance, Hemisphere Properties, the listed company set up to take over the land of the erstwhile VSNL (now Tata Communications), is seen to be one of the entities which is sitting on a large land bank.
In fact, the PSU, which is under the administrative control of the housing and urban affairs ministry, had even advertised to sell farmhouses in South Delhi, each costing upwards of Rs 25 crore.


While a final decision on the fate of the company has not been taken due to reservations by certain ministries, sources said, there are several such companies that are sitting on land and they are seen to be fit candidates to be taken up for privatisation or sale after transferring the land to the newly set up SPV.
The move comes at a time when the Centre is keen to pursue its asset monetisation programme that has seen some slippage in recent months, especially with railways deciding to take up several projects such as railway station modernisation through the EPC route or abandoning the process to rope in private players to run trains.
The government is targeting Rs 1.6-lakh-crore asset monetisation in the current fiscal after mopping up Rs 96,000 crore last year, against a target of Rs 88,000 crore. The Centre is seen to be slow on moving on monetising the massive land bank available with NLMC as things have not moved beyond the establishment of the company.

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