Skip to main content

Why has this book on GSPC accused Gujarat journos for failing to question Modi hype

By Rajiv Shah
In a shocking accusation, Subir Ghosh -- the writer who shot into prominence for controversially criticising Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), India's top industrial house, for cronyism in a book he co-authored, "Gas Wars: Crony Capitalism and the Ambanis" -- has called Gujarat-based journalists, without naming them, of "intellectual laziness" for failing to expose state PSU Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation (GSPC).
In his new book, which was released recently in Ahmedabad ahead of state assembly elections, "Grand Illusion: The GSPC Disaster and the Gujarat Model", Ghosh does not stop here, he continues to heap insults on Gujarat journalists, saying, they did not report or question the the GSPC's actual reserves in its Krishna-Godavari misadventure, announced by Narendra Modi to be 20 trillion cubic feet (tcf).
Ghosh says, not only did newspaper reports seemed to buy the Modi argument of the 20 tcf claim as being "proved" reserves’, wrongly believing that "the gas in place" were "economic predictions" not based on actual numbers, he complains, "No journalist questioned the numbers since they would not have known the difference"!
The book, which, ironically, is a collection of media reports on GSPC, with little original investigation, apparently, conveniently skips the Times of India (TOI) reports in 2005 and 2006, which for the first time said (click HERE for details), quoting Gujarat government officials, that the gas find was all hype, nothing else, and it was "not more than 2 tcf (just 10 per cent of what Modi had claimed)" with not more than two-thirds being "recoverable.”
The story first appeared in TOI in 2005 after unconfirmed reports began to trickle in Gandhinagar Sachivalaya quoting sources in DG hydrocarbons, the Central regulator, that the gas find was quite low. Since the DG was a UPA appointee, and therefore possibly couldn’t be relied upon, the effort was made to confirm it from state officials. The story specifically said: The 20 tcf balloon had been pricked.
Recalling how Modi announced the 20 tcf claim before media in June 2005, Ghosh seems to make appear as if he was present on the occasion. His book describes it thus: "After three days of rains, the skies began clearing up that Sunday evening. As the day languorously drew to a close, journalists in Gandhinagar/Ahmedabad were jolted out from their weekend lethargy and summoned to a press conference that was to be addressed by Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi."
Interestingly, Ghosh doesn't know: Modi called his "urgent" press conference to announce the “biggest ever gas find in India”, valuing at around Rs 2 lakh crore, at the Sardar Patel Institute of Public Administration (SPIPA), Ahmedabad, and journalists -- whom he calls "lazy" -- had to reach the site amidst heavy rains lashing the city that day morning (not evening after "three days of rain").
Banking on information provided by Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil, Ghosh in his book admits, the Opposition leader failed to create a stir around GSPC, with the TOI, Ahmedabad, "burying" what all he said on the sixth page in a single column, even though what he wanted to reveal "has been crying to be re-told" ever since.
Seeking to give full credit to Gohil, Ghosh says, "To his credit and in hindsight, he had raised the right questions, and even rattled off the right numbers", but regretting, "If journalists in Ahmedabad and elsewhere in Gujarat did not pursue the thread, it would have been either because of their own intellectual laziness, or their perception of the entire episode being that of unsubstantiated rants of a political leader out to get his rival party by hook or by crook."
The story that Gohil came up with was about "a dubious deal between the GSPC and a Canada-based company called GeoGlobal Resources", which held "a 10 per cent stake in the Krishna-Godavari Basin gas exploration project of GSPC", says Ghosh, even as quoting Gohil as saying, "At the time of offering the 10 per cent stake in the KG Basin block by [the] GSPC to GeoGlobal, the capital stock of GeoGlobal stood at a meagre $64..."
Calling Gohil "wise", Ghosh says, "He refrained from turning it into a BJP-Congress mud-fight, and assertively demanded a white paper on the subject from the government. The roles of chief minister Narendra Modi, minister of state for energy Saurabh Patel and other bureaucrats needed to be examined, he declared."
However, again Ghosh laments, "Still, he failed to cut ice. Once again, TOI relegated him to the same sixth page. Gujarati language newspapers gave the subject more prominence, but that was all. Goings-on at the GSPC remained news only of ‘local’ interest, that too of not much financial importance. The BJP maintained a cavalier attitude and remained dismissive of Gohil."

Comments

TRENDING

Iswarchandra Vidyasagar was a 'frustrated' reformer who turned into a conservative

By Bhaskar Sur "If someone says the Manusamhita was written by all wise Manu and the principal scripture of the land and if he asks me to throw it away, I'll say it is nothing short of atrocious audacity." -- Iswarchandra Vidyasagar

Why do I lend my support to voices protesting world class renovation of Gandhi Ashram?

By Martin Macwan* One would not expect an activist working on Dalit rights to join such a protest. Dalits carry unhealed trauma that Gandhi caused to Dr BR Ambedkar and the Dalit cause of effective political representation by using violent means of his own definition in the event of the Poona Pact. This apart, Gandhi’s ideas in general, which changed often, on caste were orthodox. I have nothing to add to the subject after the sharpest critique offered by Dr Ambedkar.

2002 riots: Gujarat assembly 'misinformed' about dereliction of duty, says ex-DGP

By Rajiv Shah  Former Gujarat topcop RB Sreekumar, an IPS officer of the 1971 batch, has alleged that the Gujarat government gave “totally false information” on the floor of the State Assembly regarding the appeal he made to the Gujarat governor for the “initiation of departmental action against those responsible for culpable negligence in maintenance of public order and investigation of genocidal crimes” during the 2002 riots.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Odisha bauxite mining project to 'devastate' life of 2,500 Adivasi, Dalit farmers: NAPM

Counterview Desk  While the public hearing on mining in Mali hills has been cancelled due to protests by Adivasi and Dalit farmers of the Mali Parbat Surakhya Samiti, Odisha, who have been protesting against the proposed bauxite mining project, India’s top civil rights network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) has said it is “deeply concerned” at the decision of the Government of Odisha to push the project in a Schedule-V Adivasi-belt Koraput district against the interests of the people and environment.

'Devastating impact': Rural workers suffer as Govt of India NREGA budget down by 34%

Counterview Desk  A civil rights group, the NREGA Sangharsh Morcha has sent a letter to the Prime Minister and the Minister of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj stating that 34 per cent decrease in the fiscal budget of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGA) for year 2021-22 has added to woes on India’s rural population, already suffering from “devastating impact” of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Economy in tatters, labour codes 'take away' workers' safety, benefits, right to form TU

By Our Representative  The four new labour codes promulgated by the Government of India came in for sharp criticism from several labour unions and civil rights groups at one-day discussion meeting organised in Ranchi (Jharkhand) on the issue of ‘changes in labour laws. Participants in the meeting asserted that under these new codes, many of the benefits and safeties accorded to labourers have been "taken away", while the right of labourers to create trade unions has been attacked.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Celebrating birthday amidst image of 'coerced, submissive' India ruled by a strong leader

Pushkar Raj*  As the weeks long birthday festivity of the leadership was being rejoiced India wide, the Covid was still raging in several parts of India. The carnival was in line with the post-Covid decisions and actions of the leadership demonstrating a pursuit of personal power and glory instead of national interest in times of disease and death.

Politically-motivated: Global NGO network on ED 'harassment' of Harsh Mander

Counterview Desk  CIVICUS , a top global alliance of civil society organisations seeking to strengthen citizen action and civil society around the world with a claimed membership of more than 10,000, objecting to the alleged harassment of IAS bureaucrat-turned-human rights activist Harsh Mander by the Government in India, has said that the the the Enforcement Directorate (ED) raid on his house and office highlights “an ongoing pattern of baseless and politically-motivated criminal charges brought by the authorities against activists across India”.