Skip to main content

"Ineligible" funding of Sardar Statue in Gujarat: CAG tells Central PSUs, it's not a heritage CSR activity

By Our Representative
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India, in its recent report on Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSE), has qualified public sector undertakings’ (PSUs') funding the 182-metre world’s highest Sardar Statue, currently being constructed in the Narmada river downstream of the Sardar Sarovar dam as an “ineligible” corporate social responsibility (CSR) activity.
Taking strong exception to CPSEs funding the project, CAG said, “The contribution towards construction of Statue did not qualify as CSR activity as per schedule VII of the Companies Act, 2013”. The CPSEs funded the project under item (v) of schedule VII Act, which talks of protecting “national heritage, art and culture, including restoration of buildings and sites of historical importance and works of art; setting u public libraries and development of traditional arts and handicrafts.”
Giving details, the CAG report notes, “Government of Gujarat implemented a project named ‘Statue of unity’ through a Government of Gujarat organisation named ‘Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Rashtriya Ekta Trust (SVPRET)’ for commemorating the contribution of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.”
Pointing out that “the contract for the work was awarded to Larsen & Toubro (L&T) Ltd in October 2014 at a total project cost of Rs 2,989 crore with targeted completion by October 2018”, CAG states, “As per the detailed proposal, the project comprised of construction of i) 182 meter high bronze plated statue of Sardar Patel which would be the world’s tallest statue, ii) Memorial and Visitor’s Centre, Gardens and iii) Convention Centre named ‘Shresth Bharat Bhawan’.”
The report says, “The trust approached five of the CPSEs viz. Oil & Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL), Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL), Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOC), and Oil India Limited (OIL) to participate in the project and contribute substantial funds, as there was a shortfall of funds for the year 2016-17 to the extent of Rs 780 crore.”
“Thereafter”, says the report, “All the five CPSEs contributed a total of Rs 146.83 crore (ONGC Rs 50 crore, IOCL Rs 21.83 crore, BPCL, HPCL and OIL Rs 25 crore each) towards this project under CSR.”
Taking objection to the contribution, the report states, “The activity was shown under item (v) of Schedule VII i.e protection of national heritage, art and culture. Contribution towards this project did not qualify as CSR activity as per schedule VII of the Companies Act 2013 as it was not a heritage asset.”
It further says, the management of ONGC, in its reply “stated that the project included activities such as promotion of education, development of banks of River Narmada up to Bharuch etc.”
Similarly, “The management of BPCL, HPCL & IOCL stated in their reply that as per Circular No. 21/2014 issued by MCA they interpreted the activity liberally to capture the essence of the subjects enumerated in the Schedule VII of Companies Act 2013”, it adds.
The report further observes that an amount of Rs 50 crore was “given to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Rashtriya Ekta Trust (SVPRET) as contribution towards corpus of the Trust”, which would be incur the expenditure for the trust’s activities. CAG underlines, “The fact remained that the contribution towards construction of Statue did not qualify as CSR activity as per schedule VII of the Companies Act, 2013.”

Medha Patkar protests

Taking note of the CAG report, top social activist Medha Patkar of the anti-dam Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), in a statement has said that L&T was given the contract to build the Sardar statue at the original cost of Rs 2,063 crore.
“Finding that there was a shortfall funds, the then chief minister Narendra Modi first undertook a campaign to collect iron from across the country. But funding that this was a miserable failure, L&T gave the sub-contract for iron to the Chinese company TQ”, the statement said.
When Modi found that the funds were still short by Rs 780 crore, he “forced the CSPEs to give over Rs 780 crore for the project”, Patkar said, wondering whether the money would be returned to the CPSEs, and if this amount would be spent on public good.
She said, the irony is that, while such huge amount is being spent on the Sardar statue for promoting tourism, “why nothing is being spent on education and development of the villages on the banks of the Narmada river”, adding, “While six villages were totally uprooted for building the dam, now 70 villages in the neighbourhood face the danger on account of developing tourism in the region.”

Comments

Niranjan Dave said…
Who cares for CAG?At least not this government

TRENDING

Missed call drive for VVPAT verification follows online plea to "pressure" poll panel

By Our Representative
Several political activists have begun a new campaign, asking concerned citizens to give a missed call on 9667655855 to “support the demand that 2019 Loksabha elections must be declared only after verification of 50% electronic voting machines (EVMs) with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) receipts.” The effort, supported by civil society networks across India, is meant to "further pressure" India's election machinery to ensure that the poll outcome becomes more transparent.

Did Modi own, buy digital camera costing Rs 7 lakh in 1987-88, also used email?

Counterview Desk
In an interview to the news channel News Nation, aired on Saturday last, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declaring that he had approved the air strike despite bad weather because he felt the clouds would hide Indian planes from Pakistani radar is known to have become a laughing stock across India.

Now, top Gujarat "litterateur" close to Modi says: Godse was patriot, so was Gandhi

By Rajiv Shah
A little over a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi criticized BJP candidate from Bhopal Pragya Thakur for calling Nathuram Godse a patriot saying he would never forgive her for the remark, a top Sangh Parivar ideologue, known to close to Modi in Gujarat, has supported her, saying her statement should be seen “within a context.” Thakur won from Bhopal by more than 3.5 lakh votes defeating her nearest rival, veteran Congressman and ex-Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijay Singh.

When a neo-nationalist "invaded" hijab clad ladies, Bengali looking scholar in Delhi metro

By Aditi Kundu*
Travelling in Delhi metro on a daily basis to commute from Mayur Vihar to Dwarka, I see diverse people everyday. One can hear them talk about different aspects of life, from kitchen pilitics to national politics. On the morning of May 13, I witnessed a strange incident; disturbing and amusing at the same time.

Terror attacks: Difference in public reactions in India, those in Colombo, Christchurch

By Battini Rao*
Recently, on April 20 during Easter Sunday, more than 250 people were killed in a series of coordinated terrorist attacks in churches and hotels in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Local Islamic organisations Thawheed Jamath (NJT) and Jamathei Milathu Ibrahim (JMI) are held responsible for the attack. Islamic State has also claimed responsibility.

Women lost 88 lakh jobs in 2018: Why Modi "failed" to address their disempowerment?

Counterview Desk
Five human rights leaders Anjali Bhardwaj, Shabnam Hashmi, Purnima Gupta, Dipta Bhog, and Amrita Johri of the Women March for Change have posed 56 questions (alluding to Modi’s claim of 56 inches chest) to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP against the backdrop of his interview with a Bollywood star, which was allegedly masqueraded as a “non-political” conversation.

Disproportionately high death sentences against Dalits, Adivasis, Muslims: UN told

Counterview Desk
In their joint submission to the United Nations Human Rights Committee to meet for the listing of adoption of list of issues at its 126th session, July 1-26, 2019, top Dalit rights organizations have taken strong exception to, among other things, "disproportional application of death sentencing by the judiciary of minorities, such as Muslims, Dalits and Adivasis".

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.

India's 80% construction sites "unsafe", deaths 20 times higher than those in Britain

By Rajiv Shah
The Government of India may be seeking to project India’s construction sector as the country’s second-largest employer of the country after agriculture, providing jobs to more than 44 million people, and contributing nearly 9% to the national GDP, yet, ironically, its workforce is more unprotected than any other industrial sector of the country. Data suggest that the possibility of a fatality is five times more likely in the construction industry  than in a manufacturing industry, and the risk of a major injury is 2.5 times higher.

India sans Modi preferable, Congress worthier recipient of Indians’ votes: The Economist

By Our Representative
In a strongly-worded and crucial commentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the electoral political battle is on, influential British weekly “The Economist”, has declared that “Indians, who are in the midst of voting in a fresh election, would be better off with a different leader”, even as pointing out that that under Modi, “India’s ruling party poses a threat to democracy.”