Those holes weren’t dug for finding oil or natural gas, but ONGC prizes them anyway. The government, though, now wants the public sector hydrocarbon giant to sell its golf courses dotted around the country.
ONGC’s fairways, used by its executives for playing the leisurely game and hosting the company’s business partners, have been deemed ‘non-core’ assets by the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM). The government wants ONGC to monetise these assets, said officials familiar with the matter, who spoke off record.
A recent exercise by DIPAM to assess land banks and other non-core assets of government departments as well as central PSUs identified two of ONGC’s golf courses, in Ahmedabad and Vadodara, as prime candidates for monetisation.
BPCL'S CHEMBUR SPORTS CLUB ALSO ON LIST
Also on the list, as far as hydrocarbon CPSEs (central public sector enterprises) are concerned, is the sports club owned by Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) in Chembur, Mumbai. As in the case of ONGC, BPCL staff are regular users of the company facility.
At a meeting of officials from DIPAM, Niti Aayog, oil ministry and other departments, the decision to monetise non-core assets of ONGC and BPCL was greenlighted. The proceeds will go to the CPSEs, not the exchequer, officials said, because the aim is to rationalise resource utilisation in the public sector.
ONGC owns a few more golf courses — in Ankleshwar (Gujarat), Rajahmundry (Andhra Pradesh) and one in Assam. Officials said the fairways in Ahmedabad and Vadodara were targeted first due to their attractive locations. The same logic was applied to BPCL’s Chembur sports facility.
Officials said monetisation may happen through an outright sale or via a joint venture to redevelop the land. ONGC’s golf courses and BPCL’s sports facility are spread over large parcels of land. Therefore, the hope is that they have the potential to be developed into big real estate projects.
ONGC didn’t respond to ET’s emailed query on the matter. But a senior company executive, who didn’t want to be identified, said he was “surprised” at the government’s move.
“They are just looking at it as a real estate play and missing the larger purpose these facilities serve for the company,” he said, adding that these facilities are among the reasons ONGC can attract and retain talent. He also said identifying non-core assets should be the job of the boards of CPSEs.
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