Gloom descended over the Asansol-Durgapur industrial zone ahead of the Puja as a notice for complete disinvestment of yet another PSU arrived here on Thursday.

The official notice for hundred per cent stake sale in Durgapur Chemicals Limited (DCL), a state-owned enterprise, issued by the Public Enterprises and Industrial Reconstruction department arrived at its headquarters here on Thursday.

It was only on Wednesday that the Union Minister of State for Heavy Industries, Babul Supriyo, had announced closure of Hindustan Cables Limited (HCL), a Central Public Sector Enterprise that produces copper wires for the telecom sector and is headquartered at Rupnarayanpur in Asansol.

Both the PSUs, however, had been gasping for life since long.

The DCL was set up in 1963. It started commercial production of phenol, phthalic acid, monochloro benzene, caustic soda, hydrochloric acid and chlorine in 1968. The net worth of the company turned negative and the accumulated loss till 31 March 2016 was estimated at Rs.178.56 crore. The finance department recently approved the decision of hundred per cent stake sale of the company taken on last 16 August, citing that even with an increase in the installed capacity, DCL has not reflected an equivalent increase in production due to low capacity utilisation and continued cash losses, the correspondence issued by K Ghosh, additional secretary, department of PE & IR stated.

The directive asked the DCL authorities to engage a security agency and prepare a list of the company&’s assets and financial liabilities, land and the detailed project report of the 100 MT caustic soda plant.

The managing director, (in-charge),DCL, Subrata Mukherjee said, “We have received the instruction and we are holding an administrative meeting for the purpose today.”

A performance audit covering the period from 2006 to 2011 to assess the post restructuring performance of the company was tabled by the CAG on 31 March 2011. The CAG report had mentioned that the Paid-up Capital of DCL reduced from Rs.406.01 crore to Rs.57.28 crore. For implementation of modernisation of projects, the borrowings of the company increased from Rs.6.29 crore to 62.60 crore during the period 2006-11. The CAG stated, “The company failed to mobilise adequate working capital due to its inability to generate own resources. The company could not recover its cost of operation as cost growth outstripped the growth of sales realization during 2007-11.”

The company had a total permanent manpower of 256, assisted by an additional force of 350 contractual employees.

The stake-sale notice has frustrated the trade union leadership across Durgapur on Thursday. B K Chakraborty,district CITU president stated, “At a time when the chief minister is trying to woo the investors in Munich, and Stuttgart, PSUs in her own state&’s industrial hub are downing shutters one after another. It&’s simply a joke.” The INTTUC too blamed the state&’s apathy. Probhat Chatterjee,on behalf of the TMC&’s labour front said, “The bureaucrats have ruined the company. We shall take up the matter for reconsideration.”