Himachal Public Sector Unit Losses Mount

Shimla: With losses of state public sector undertakings (SPSU) having more than doubled in a single year, the BJP government would need to have a fresh look at functioning of some of these state enterprises.

Though the report of workings of 23 SPSU that was presented in the Vidhan Sabha on Friday showed that 10 of them had reported profits in 2006-07, but the total losses of all of them for the year were Rs 52.12 crore which was more than double of Rs 20.94 crore that was reported in 2005-06.

On an accumulated investment of Rs 761.75 crore in these government companies, the accumulated losses had crossed the Rs 977.78 crore mark in 2006-07. Ironically , losses of Rs 777.49 crore (80%) are in three undertakings, which are HP state electricity board (HPSEB) with Rs 237.28 cr, Himachal Road Transport Corp (HRTC) with Rs 437.95 Cr and HP Financial Corp with Rs 102.26 crore.

The state electricity board which had reported a profit of Rs 20.48 crore in 2005-06, recorded a profit of Rs 1.88 crore, a decline of 91 % profits, in 2006-07.
Losses in 5 government companies have completely eroded their investment capital. A government share capital of Rs 10.24 crore in HP Horticulture Produce Marketing Corp (HPMC) by end of 2006-07 had accumulated losses at Rs 39.06 crore, an investment of Rs 11.71 Cr in HP State Forest Corp had accumulated losses at Rs 49.76 crore, HP State Hanidcraft and Handloom Corp with an investment of Rs 4.14 Cr was reporting losses at Rs 11.29 Cr, Agro-Industrial Packaging India Ltd on an investment of Rs17.72 cr had accumulated losses at Rs 65 crore and HP state coop milk producers federation on an investment of Rs 6.47 crore had a accumulated losses at Rs 15.77 crore.

Commenting on the PSU losses, DK Sharma, an economist said that since the rise in operating costs of these companies, which was linked to the government pay scales and increments, being more than the business generated, the losses would increase over the years. “Unless efforts are made to privatize some of them, they would continue to add to the burden of the state exchequer,” said Sharma.

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