Skip to main content

"Undue benefits" in Gujarat to business groups Reliance, Adani, Essar under Modi government: CAG

By Our Representative
In what may prove to be a major embarrassment for Narendra Modi’s Gujarat model of development, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India has sharply criticized the state government for giving “undue benefits” to three of the biggest investors in Gujarat – Reliance, Adanis and Essar. The CAG report, which was tabled in the Gujarat state assembly, has particularly come down heavily on the Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB) failing to recover “full wharfage rate” between 2008-09 and 2012-13 from the Reliance Petroleum Ltd’s captive jetty in Sikka, Jamnagar.
The CAG said, "Undue benefit was extended to Reliance Petroleum Ltd (RPL) by non-recovery of full wharfage rate after the cost of captive jetty (Rs 362.01 crore) constructed by it was set-off. Further, erroneous calculation of set-off value and application of incorrect wharfage rate resulted in short recovery of Rs 649.29 crore from Reliance Petroleum." RPL is the country’s biggest oil refinery, and its captive jetty has two single buoy moorings for captive consumption.
As for the Adani Group, which has been sharply criticized for being closest to Modi, CAG has wondered how Mundra Port in Kutch district could be turned into Adani Port. Pointing out that the Mundra Port was actually planned under the join sector of public-private partnership, it has said, the Gujarat government did not follow competitive bidding process while disinvesting its stakes in the Mundra port. The Mundra port was jointly owned by the Adani Port Ltd and Gujarat Ports Infrastructure Development Company Ltd (GIPDCL), a special purpose vehicle of the Gujarat Maritime Board.
Coming to the Essar Group, CAG said, the “change” of delivery point subsequent to finalisation of power purchase agreement (PPA) – which took place with the Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Ltd (GUVNL) -- led to passing of “undue benefit to Essar Power Gujarat Ltd for Rs 587.50 crore during the tenure of PPA” The PPA was signed in February 2007). CAG also noted, the change in the delivery point helped the Essar Power  “save” Rs 52 crore, as it did not have to construct transmission lines, and saved another Rs 21.42 crore per annum as there “no line losses”. The agreement with the GUVNL was supplying 1,000 MW of power for 25 years.
Just like the previous few years, this year, too, the Gujarat government placed the CAG report in the Gujarat state assembly on the last day of its session. The tradition of placing CAG report, which has proved to be embarrassing for the government, on the last day began about more than a decade ago. Previously, the CAG report would be placed in the house soon within ten days of the beginning of the budget session. Not without reason, this has helped the ruling party evade any discussion on contentious issues mentioned in CAG reports.
Apart from criticizing the Gujarat government of being soft to big business houses,  CAG for its report ending March 2013 has simultaneously taken on the government for "lack of effective  monitoring  mechanism in prisons", which it said resulted in serious security lapses. The result was the excavation of a tunnel inside a yard of the Sabarmati Central jail in February 2013, dug by a group of 55 prisoners, all of whom were accused in cases of 2008 Ahmedabad serial bomb blasts at the Civil Hospital, killing about 30 persons.
The CAG noted, "Out of the 26 Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras installed in Sabarmati Central Jail in September 2007, 22 cameras were not working and system of taking footage had not been developed." It added, "Though there was shortage of 50 per cent of security staff for a long time and permission was granted by the government for recruitment of sepoys, the process for recruitment remained incomplete."
 "There were no watch towers surrounding the main wall of the old prison and the watch towers constructed inside were broken and abandoned. Binoculars and searchlights were not provided to staff on duty on the watch tower in test-checked prisons," the CAG said, adding, this was in against the norms worked out by the Model Prison Manual. The escape plan of prisoners came to light on February 2013 after the authorities found that a 218-feet long tunnel inside barrack No 4 of Sabarmati Jail  had already been dug. 

Comments

TRENDING

India under Modi among top 10 autocratizing nations, on verge of 'losing' democracy status

By Rajiv Shah
A new report, prepared by a top Swedish institute studying liberal democracy, has observed that there has been a sharp “dive in press freedom along with increasing repression of civil society in India associated with the current Hindu-nationalist regime of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.” The report places India among the top 10 countries that “have autocratized the most”. Other countries that have been identified for rolling towards autocracy are -- Hungary, Turkey, Poland, Serbia, Brazil, Mali, Thailand, Nicaragua and Zambia.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam*
RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Border conflict? RBI nod India's 'brotherly' help to China internationalise its currency

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
In the middle of a global pandemic, China started an unprovoked border conflict with India. It unraveled trust deficit and ties between the two neighbours. As thousands of Chinese troops tried occupying Indian territory, the Narendra Modi-led BJP government directs the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to allow the Bank of China to start regular banking services in India. The Bank of China will now operate in India like any other commercial banks.

RSS supremo Deoras 'supported' Emergency, but Indira, Sanjay Gandhi 'didn't respond'

By Shamsul Islam*
National Emergency was imposed on the country by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on June 25-26, 1975, and it lasted for 19 months. This period is considered as ''dark times' for Indian democratic polity. Indira Gandhi claimed that due to Jaiprakash Narayan's call to the armed forces to disobey the 'illegal' orders of Congress rulers had created a situation of anarchy and there was danger to the existence of Indian Republic so there was no alternative but to impose Emergency under article 352 of the Constitution.

Letter to friends, mentors: Coming together of class, communal, corona viruses 'scary'

By Prof (Dr) Mansee Bal Bhargava*
COVID greetings from Ahmedabad to dear mentors and friends from around the world…
I hope you are keeping well and taking care of yourself besides caring for the people around you. I’m writing to learn how is the science and the society coping with the prevention and cure of the pandemic. I’m also writing to share the state of the corona virus that is further complicated with the long-standing class and communal viruses.

Clean chit to British rulers, Muslim League? Karnataka to have Veer Savarkar flyovers

By Shamsul Islam*
The BJP government of Karnataka led by BS Yediyurappa is going to honour Hindutva icon VD Savarkar by naming two of the newly built major flyovers in Bangalore and Mangalore after him. There was a huge uproar against this decision of the RSS-BJP government as many pro-Kannada organisations with opposition parties and liberal-secular organizations questioned the logic to ignore so many freedom fighters, social reformers and others from within the state.

Hurried nod to Western Ghat projects: 16 lakh Goans' water security 'jeopardised'

Counterview Desk
Taking strong exception to "virtual clearances" to eco-sensitive projects in the Western Ghats, the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) in a statement has said urged for a review of the four-lane highway, 400 KV transmission line and double tracking of the railway line through the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary and Mollem National Park in Goa.

Disturbing signal? Reliance 'shifting focus' away from Indian petrochemical sector

By NS Venkataraman*
Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), a large Indian company, has expanded and grown in a spectacular manner during the last few decades, like of which no industrial group in India has performed before. RIL is now involved in multi various activities relating to petroleum refineries, petrochemicals, oil and gas exploration, coal bed methane, life sciences, retail business, communication network, (Jio platform) media/entertainment etc.

Case for nationalising India's healthcare system amidst 'strong' private control

Counterview Desk
A draft discussion note, prepared by Dr Maya Valecha, a Gujarat-based gynecologist and activist, sent to the People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) as also a large number of activists, academics and professionals as an email alert, is all set to create a flutter among policy experts for its strong insistence on nationalizing India’s healthcare system.