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Save Dredging Corporation Of India Limited- Stop Privatezation

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We the employees of Dredging Corporation of India Limited (DCI), a Central Government undertaking under the administrative control of Ministry of Shipping, having its corporate office at Visakhapatnam would crave to draw your attention to the proposed strategic sale of 51% by GOI in the Company.

The GOI has disinvested in four instalments in DCI till now : 1991-92 – 1.44%, 2003-04 – 20%, 2015-16 – 5% and 2016-17 – 0.09% (Employees). The present holding of GOI is 73.47%. The paid up capital of the Company is only Rs.28Cr. The Company has 50000 shareholders. The present proposal, it seems, is for outright sale which is causing agony amongst the employees who have toiled for the past 40 years to help grow this company.

DCI played a key role in this strategic sector by providing dredging services to all major ports, Indian Navy since inception in 1976. Over the period, the Company has grown in strength with acquisition of new dredgers with internal resources and always booked profits and yielded good returns to the GOI. Today, with a fleet of 17 Dredgers of various types. DCI is the top most dredging company in India and ranks amongst the top 10 dredging companies in the world and is the largest and most reliable dredging company in India. DCI is the lifeline for ports in India. Selling a Company like DCI will endanger the safety and security of the ports and nation. Even now, ports fall back on DCI in times of crisis/ urgency and failure of private contractors. It is also not out of place to mention that per employee profit earned by DCI is one of the highest in the PSUs. DCI has been consistently earning profits on annual basis since inception and has never shown losses. The Company has also been consistently giving returns to GOI in the form of dividend and taxes. In fact, it is one of the leading service tax payers in the Visakhapatnam region.

As stated, DCI is a govt of India company catering to the dredging requirements of Indian Navy, defence establishments.The sovereignty, secrecy of defence/ navy will be endangered if the this core sector is handed over to private parties. Hence public sector nature of DCI should not be altered.

In this scenario, if the proposed sale happens, the private/foreign players who till now been concentrating on securing markets by undercutting etc., to outdo DCI will get leverage to manipulate rates to their advantage and the Government will have no control over the same.

It is also submitted that the Company has been gearing itself to meet the new challenges. The Company in the last one year has appointed number of consultants in order to improve the working of the company comparable with the best in the world. It will take another couple of years to see a meaningful shape and tangible results to be seen till which time, support of the GOI is necessary rather than thinking of selling the Company.

We would like draw your kind attention to the following which have affected the operations and cash flows of the Company :-

the non-payment of dues on account of Sethusamudram. The amounts have been pending since 2009. The high level Committee appointed by Ministry after much persuasion has recommended an amount of around Rs.300 crore to be paid to DCI. The same has not since seen the light of the day for the past 9 years.
The dues from other ports like Kolkata Port, Kandla Port, Goa Port, Cochin Port have been mounting over the years and inspite of DCI offering a discount for settlement of the same so as to have the cash flows, the ports are seeking direction from Ministry in this regard.
DCI has been catering to the dredging requirements at Kolkata/Haldia port almost since inception for more than 30 years on nomination basis. The Port has gone for tender this year and DCI has won the same even on tender basis. Suddenly GOI has reduced the scope of work at the Kolkata. Consequently, the revenues from the port have been substantially reduced.
Help of Ministry is required to to get alternate works to compensate the reduction in Kolkata Port
DCI had plans to purchase further new dredgers of higher capacity but need to be shelved for the present because of shortage of funds the same have been slowed down.

Dredging is a specialized field and name any dredging Company operating in India, they have the personal who have worked in DCI. Infact DCI has been the source of manpower for dredging expertise in the country which is hard to find elsewhere. The dredging personnel outside the country are very expensive and in a way DCI has been helping to bring down the dredging costs.

In case the alleged strategic sale happens, any private player who acquires the same would be interested in taking the company out of this scenic place to serve his own personal interests. If this happens, Andhra Pradesh and Visakhapatnam will lose one of its most successful crowned PSU companies. The future of more than 1000 employees will be jeopardised and their families will be thrown to roads.

DCI has also proposed to set up a dredger training Institute cum repair yard in Antarvedi, Andhra Pradesh at a capital investment of about Rs.800 Cr. This would be a jewel in the crown of Andhra Pradesh, the MOU for which has been signed with much fanfare in International Maritime Summit in 2016. The proposed sale will put a question mark on the future of the project.

To conclude, the employees of DCI request your urgent kind intervention to stop the proposed sale of DCI which is the crown of Visakhaptnam to private players in the best interest of the Country and the employees. DCI has all along stood the competition and also secured international contracts against tough competition, the latest one being the Mongla Port in Bangladesh.

Request your kind intervention in this regard and assure the support of all the employees to put out all efforts in the progress of the Company.

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