An uneasy calm is prevailing among close to 10,000 employees at the mini-ratna public sector undertaking — HLL, ever since the finance ministry began the process to disinvest it. The employees are deeply upset with the move and on the anvil are a series of protests which are expected to be announced anytime now by the employees.
The government gave its “in-principle” approval for HLL’s disinvestment in July and in their most latest advertisement released by the finance ministry’s Department of Investment and Public Asset Management sought bids for a 100 per cent stake sale in the company by January 31, 2022.
At present there are various categories of people employed at HLL which include 3,900 direct employees and the rest comprises of contract third party and laboratory staff.
Established in 1966, HLL has come a long way as part of the implementation of the Family Planning Programme of Government of India under the Ministry of Health & Family welfare and from a contraceptive manufacturing company, in its journey from then, it is now a total healthcare company and in its growth trajectory it has won numerous accolades not only from the government but at international level too.
What their employees are now saying in hush tones is that a healthcare company like HLL in the government sector provided absolute credibility to the general public through its products and services and what they are deeply upset about is that there is no word on the status of the present employees and what will happen to their future.
“Just look at the Covid pandemic where we were rightly named as ‘Mission Covid-19’, the team at HLL fought all odds to ensure there is enough supply of medical equipment including surgical masks, protective suits, and safety goggles for the front-line medical workers across the country. Did such a thing happen in the private sector,” asked an employee.
The HLL have by now supplied medical devices to various medical institutions in 29 states and 7 Union Territories.
“We will first approach the various political leadership to prevail upon them to see that HLL continues in the public sector and if it fails then we will have no other option but to go forward with a series of unique protests,” added the distraught employee.
The HLL ended the previous fiscal with a turnover of Rs 5,081 crore and had a profit of Rs 112 crore.
“Over the years the credibility of HLL and its products and services have had an unblemished track record and when it turns private, naturally there will be a lot of compromises and the end result is, the common man will suffer,” added the employee.