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

Green revolution "not sustainable", Bt cotton a failure in India: MS Swaminathan

Counterview Desk
In a recent paper in the journal “Current Science”, distinguished scientist PC Kesaven and his colleague MS Swaminathan, widely regarded as the father of the Green Revolution, have argued that Bt insecticidal cotton, widely regarded as the continuation of the Green Revolution, has been a failure in India and has not provided livelihood security for mainly resource-poor, small and marginal farmers.
Sharply taking on Green Revolution, the authors say, it has not been sustainable largely because of adverse environmental and social impacts, insisting on the need to move away from the simplistic output-yield paradigm that dominates much thinking. Seeking to address the concerns about local food security and sovereignty as well as on-farm and off-farm social and ecological issues associated with the Green Revolution, they argue in favour of what they call sustainable ‘Evergreen Revolution’, based on a ‘systems approach’ and ‘ecoagriculture’.
Pointing out that Evergreen Revol…

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Some Hindu bodies in US defending BJP-RSS' divisive, violent activities: Agnivesh

Counterview Desk Last week, Washington DC saw speakers at a religious freedom roundtable, chaired by the US Ambassador for Religious Freedom, Sam Brownback, express concern over "eroding" space for religious freedom in India. Dr Mike Ghouse, executive director, of the Center for Pluralism in Washington DC, referring to the roundtable, said in an email alert that Indian-Americans have "a moral duty to prevent India from being labeled as a Country of Particular Concern by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)".

Rejoinder: Inescapable to have Central Water Commission as strong technical body in India

By BN Navalawala*
This is with reference to Counterview Blog (December 5, 2018), "Modi govt 'shelves' water reforms report, shows 'no interest' in its recommendations", below mentioned are my comments/observations thereon:
A committee was constituted under the Chairmanship of Dr. Mihir Shah, Former Member, Planning Commission, for restructuring of Central Water Commission (CWC) and Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) for optimal development of water resources in the country in the backdrop of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM).

Murder of Tamil Nadu teenage Dalit girl: "Stoic silence" despite #MeToo movement

Counterview Desk
Brinelle D'souza, who is with the Centre for Health and Mental Health, School of Social Work, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, has prepared a strong statement to protest the brutal murder of 13-year-old Rajalakshmi. "Other than a few media reports, this gruesome killing has not caught national attention despite a very vibrant #MeToo campaign currently underway", regrets D'souza.

Preventing childhood deaths: India performs worse than Bangladesh, "equals" Pakistan

By Rajiv Shah
A just-released study, “The Pneumonia and Diarrhea Progress Report 2018”, prepared by the International Vaccine Access Centre (IVAC) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, has identified India among 15 other countries which are still far off the mark in achieving the targets of the Global Action Plan for the Prevention of Pneumonia and Diarrhea (GAPPD).

60 ex-civil servants seek release of CAG reports on Rafale, demonetisation before 2019 polls

Counterview Desk
As many as 60 retired civil servants have asked President Ram Nath Kovind to expedite the release of Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) reports on demonetisation and the Rafale deal. The letter, signed mainly by former Indian Administrative Service, Indian Foreign Service and Indian Police Service officers, regrets that the status of the audit is "unclear”. According to them, “An impression is gaining ground that CAG is deliberately delaying its audit reports on demonetisation and Rafale deal till after the May 2019 elections so as not to embarrass the present government”.

India's rewritten textbooks talk of demerits of democracy, praise Hitler, underrate Mughals

Counterview Desk
A detailed, 3,800-word review of the books rewritten under directions of the BJP rulers across India since Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in May 2014 has suggested that one of aims of the books is to instill a sense of doubt about India’s democratic polity among the country’s young minds. Reviewed in the prestigious US journal, “The New York Review of Books”, in its latest issue (December 6, 2018) by Alex Traub, the scrutiny insists, the effort has also been to paint Indian history from the angle of “Hindu triumphalism”, even as creating “Islamophobia”.

Govt of India "tarnishing" NGO reputation, dossier leaked selectively: Amnesty

Counterview Desk
Amnesty International India has said that a deliberate attempt is being made to tarnish its reputation by leaking a dossier, supposedly made by investigating agencies, to media without giving it access to any such information. The high profile NGO’s claim follows a Times Now report about proceedings launched by investigative agencies, including Enforcement Directorate (ED) against the rights body for “violations” of rules pertaining to overseas donations.

Four children die after poor UP Dalit, Muslim families forced to flee to forest area: PVCHR

Counterview Desk
Peoples’ Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) has said that the forest department police’s crackdown, allegedly without any prior notice, on Dalit and Muslim households in Dakhin Tola, Churk Bazaar, Sonbhadra district, Uttar Pradesh, beating up “children and old people, women, and men in an inhuman way”, has led to “forced displacement, starvation and discrimination”. This has reportedly affected about 350 people.