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Nalco due diligence may resume after civic polls

Ambarish Mukherjee

NEW DELHI, Dec. 13

THE due diligence process for disinvestment of state-owned National Aluminium Company (Nalco) will resume around the end of January after municipal elections in Orissa are over, according to Government sources.

The process of restarting the due diligence exercise would be initiated only after the middle of January after which it would take a week or two for the bidders to chart out their plans and undertake the exercise in a formal manner, sources said.

Meanwhile, the Government has already written to the advisors to delay the due diligence in Nalco for international bidders.

This, sources said, was because of the political considerations of the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) headed by the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) in which the ruling party in Orissa - Biju Janata Dal (BJD) - is a partner.

Orissa is scheduled to hold elections for some 20 municipal corporations and a number of Notified Area Councils (NACs) in the middle of January and the Opposition party in the State, namely the Congress, has made Nalco disinvestment an emotive issue for the local population, according to Orissa Government sources.

The Nalco disinvestment exercise had come to a halt when a team of officials from Hindalco, one of the bidders, was roughed up by trade union members allegedly having affiliation to the Congress when they tried to enter Nalco premises in November following which the Prime Minister's Office had reportedly asked the Department of Disinvestment (DoD) not to send any more bidders to Orissa for the due diligence exercise.

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