Calcutta HC stays proposed sale of Bengal Chemicals excess land

Kolkata
22 Jun 2017

The Calcutta High Court today stayed the proposed sale of excess land of Bengal Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals Limited, a Union government undertaking.

Justice Debangshu Basak stayed the proposed sale of the land, slated for auction next week, on a petition by the company's workers' union opposing the proposed sale. Petitioner's counsel Bikash Bhattacharya submitted to the court that the proposed sale was an attempt to slowly sell off the company. Bhattacharya said the company, which has made profit after several years, should be strengthened and diversified instead of the sale of its land.

Appearing for the Union government, additional solicitor general Kaushik Chanda sought time to take instructions from the Centre for putting forth the government stand on the matter. Admitting the plea, Justice Basak asked the Centre to file an affidavit to spell out its stand on the petitioner's claim. The workers' union was also directed to file a counter- affidavit and slated the matter for further hearing in August. Bengal Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals Limited is the first Indian pharma company set up in 1901 by scientist and visionary Acharya Prafulla Chandra Roy, the company website said.

The company, which had been going through a prolonged bad phase, was nationalised in 1980. The Kolkata-headquartered company recorded a profit of Rs 4 crore in financial year 2016-2017 after suffering losses for several years.