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

ALSO READ

India failing to dictate diplomatic preferences of Nepal, Bhutan, is unfairly blaming Beijing: Chinese daily

By Our Representative
In a sharply-worded editorial, a top Chinese media outfit, described by BBC as state-run, has said, commenting on India's foreign relations with its neighbours, that "speculation and suspicion" is "certainly not diplomacy". Published in "China Daily", the largest circulating English Monday-to-Saturday newspaper with branches across the world, the editorial notes (September 20) that "several recent events" in Nepal and Bhutan, are "gnawing worrywarts in New Delhi".
The editorial -- which comes close on the heels of a sharp critique of India's foreign policy in a state-supported Russian media outfit, Sputnik International, calling India's anti-Pak diplomacy as having "gone awry" following Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "half-baked" push for anti-terror drill down "others' throat" -- says, the " worrywarts" include "Nepalese troops taking part in a joint…

Ahmedabad, GIFT, Adani city get 1.68 lakh acre ft Narmada water; Gujarat's rural areas just 4.27 AF: Letter to CM

Counterview Desk
Well-known farmer rights leader Sagar Rabari, in an open letter to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, has demanded a transparent account of Narmada water, saying, while he has received a "routine reply" from him to his earlier, the data emerging from his RTI application show huge quantity of water being directed to Ahmedabad, the 10 km stretch of Sabarmati for the Ahmedabad riverfront, and nearby elite urban areas, including the Adanis' Shantigram township and GIFT City.

Gujarat BJP MLAs, youth leader "incited" attack on North Indians: Cong releases video

Counterview Desk
Senior Gujarat Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil, currently in charge of Bihar and national spokesperson, All-India Congress Committee, has sent a legal notice to chief minister Vijay Rupani threatening criminal case and civil defamation suit for accusing him with "baseless statement" that he was responsible for attacks on north Indians in Gujarat.

17 lakh Jharkhand elderly, widows, differently abled do not receive pension: Public hearing told, aadhaar is a hurdle

By Our Representative
Hundreds of elderly, widows, single women and differently-abled persons from different districts of Jharkhand gathered near the Raj Bhavan in Ranchi for a public hearing organized by the Jharkhand Right to Food Campaign and Pension Parishad demanding the right to universal social security pensions ahead of World Elderly Day on October 1.

Ethnocide in Caribbean island filmed following award winning docufilm on Jamaica's anti-colonial Indian roots

International awards winner for Best Feature Documentary Linda Aïnouche for “Dreadlocks Story” (2014), which shows how Indians are entangled in the Jamaican society, and how Hinduism was a source of inspiration for the Rastafari movement, is all set to release her new documentary, “Marooned in the Caribbean”, which aims at documenting the awful desolating living conditions that Raizal people, the native inhabitants of San Andres Archipelago, endure.
Sons of slaves, these islanders have fallen prey to what the Colombian government calls Colombianization. “It’s a process”, according to her, “which kills the Raizal culture; it’s the killing of the Raizal soul. Colombianization subjugates Afro-descendants of San Andres to an ethnocide.”

Explorer, director and producer, Linda Aïnouche writes exclusively for Counterview: ***
Nobody escapes from blood and thunder in Colombia, and definitely not in the archipelago of San Andres, situated closer to Managua and Kingston than Bogota. The Raizal p…

Accused of being RSS plant, Modi man, Hyderabad Urdu varsity chancellor asks President to probe "irregularities"

Counterview Desk
Refused entry in the Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU), the central university's newly appointed chancellor Firoz Bakht Ahmed, who claims to be grand nephew of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, has, in a letter to the President of India, said that MANUU vice-chancellor (V-C) Dr Aslam Parvaiz has accused him of being an RSS plant and a Modi man, whose sole aim is to "interfere in the working of the university".

India to deport Rohingya refugees, as the world moves towards prosecuting Myanmar for genocide

By Tapan Bose*
Seven Rohingya Muslims refugees who were held at a detention centre in Assam since 2012 will be handed over to Myanmar. The Supreme Court of India has refused to stop their deportation. The new Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gagoi said, "We are not inclined to interfere on the decision taken".

An elite Kutir set up by Modi far from the "madding" crowd: This Gandhi museum is formal, unapproachable

By Rajiv Shah
Have you ever heard of a Gandhi museum, sough to be projected as the “largest” on the Mahatma, yet totally inaccessible, in sharp contrast to Ahmedabad’s humble, approachable and unassuming Gandhi Ashram on the banks of Sabarmati, set up by the Mahatma during the heydays of the freedom movement? It exists about 30 kilometres away, its idea was conceived by none other than a person who has today become even more inaccessible than he ever was: Narendra Modi, India's Prime Minister.

History less known: Kasturba's role as an independent woman and a freedom fighter in her own right

By Nandini Oza*
Even the most deserving of women do not find a place that equals their worth in history. Kasturba is one such woman whose contribution to India’s struggle for freedom has been exemplary, and yet, it has not received the recognition it deserves. Kastur Makhanji Kapadia was born in the year 1869, the same year and in the same town of Porbandar in Gujarat as Gandhiji. In fact she was older than Gandhiji by a few months.

Post-MJ Akbar resignation: #MeToo movement and fears of backlash

By Sheshu Babu*
For the last few days, #MeToo movement has picked up momentum and many women are coming out with horrific tales of severe harassment in their past lives. They are not afraid anymore to expose famous persons including those at ministerial levels. As a senior journalist Neeraja Chowdhury opined (“An exit, a beginning”, October 18, 2018, indianexpress.com), "The #MeToo revelations are like the eruption of a volcano which was imminent, given the journey working women have covered. It was not easy to make public what they had gone through,and take on powerful men.”