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
vaghelabd said…
Recover the illegal donation from the Culprit Board of Directors of Oil Companies.

TRENDING

Bill Gates as funder, author, editor, adviser? Data imperialism: manipulating the metrics

By Dr Amitav Banerjee, MD*  When Mahatma Gandhi on invitation from Buckingham Palace was invited to have tea with King George V, he was asked, “Mr Gandhi, do you think you are properly dressed to meet the King?” Gandhi retorted, “Do not worry about my clothes. The King has enough clothes on for both of us.”

What's Bill Gates up to? Have 'irregularities' found in funding HPV vaccine trials faded?

By Colin Gonsalves*  After having read the 72nd report of the Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on alleged irregularities in the conduct of studies using HPV vaccines by PATH in India, it was startling to see Bill Gates bobbing his head up and down and smiling ingratiatingly on prime time television while the Prime Minister lectured him in Hindi on his plans for the country. 

Displaced from Bangladesh, Buddhist, Hindu groups without citizenship in Arunachal

By Sharma Lohit  Buddhist Chakma and Hindu Hajongs were settled in the 1960s in parts of Changlang and Papum Pare district of Arunachal Pradesh after they had fled Chittagong Hill Tracts of present Bangladesh following an ethnic clash and a dam disaster. Their original population was around 5,000, but at present, it is said to be close to one lakh.

Muted profit margins, moderate increase in costs and sales: IIM-A survey of 1000 cos

By Our Representative  The Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad’s (IIM-A's) latest Business Inflation Expectations Survey (BIES) has said that the cost perceptions data obtained from India’s business executives suggests that there is “mild increase in cost pressures”.

Anti-Rupala Rajputs 'have no support' of numerically strong Kshatriya communities

By Rajiv Shah  Personally, I have no love lost for Purshottam Rupala, though I have known him ever since I was posted as the Times of India representative in Gandhinagar in 1997, from where I was supposed to do political reporting. In news after he made the statement that 'maharajas' succumbed to foreign rulers, including the British, and even married off their daughters them, there have been large Rajput rallies against him for “insulting” the community.

Govt putting India's professionals, skilled, unskilled labour 'at mercy of' big business

By Thomas Franco, Dinesh Abrol*  As it is impossible to refute the report of the International Labour Organisation, Chief Economic Advisor Anantha Nageswaran recently said that the government cannot solve all social, economic problems like unemployment and social security. He blamed the youth for not acquiring enough skills to get employment. Then can’t the people ask, ‘Why do we have a government? Is it not the government’s responsibility to provide adequate employment to its citizens?’

Magnetic, stunning, Protima Bedi 'exposed' malice of sexual repression in society

By Harsh Thakor*  Protima Bedi was born to a baniya businessman and a Bengali mother as Protima Gupta in Delhi in 1949. Her father was a small-time trader, who was thrown out of his family for marrying a dark Bengali women. The theme of her early life was to rebel against traditional bondage. It was extraordinary how Protima underwent a metamorphosis from a conventional convent-educated girl into a freak. On October 12th was her 75th birthday; earlier this year, on August 18th it was her 25th death anniversary.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Youth as game changers in Lok Sabha polls? Young voter registration 'is so very low'

By Dr Mansee Bal Bhargava*  Young voters will be the game changers in 2024. Do they realise this? Does it matter to them? If it does, what they should/must vote for? India’s population of nearly 1.3 billion has about one-fifth 19.1% as youth. With 66% of its population (808 million) below the age of 35, India has the world's largest youth population. Among them, less than 40% of those who turned 18 or 19 have registered themselves for 2024 election. According to the Election Commission of India (ECI), just above 1.8 crore new voters (18-and 19-year-olds) are on the electoral rolls/registration out of the total projected 4.9 crore new voters in this age group.

Why am I exhorting citizens for a satyagrah to force ECI to 'at least rethink' on EVM

By Sandeep Pandey*   As election fever rises and political parties get busy with campaigning, one issue which refuses to die even after elections have been declared is that of Electronic Voting Machine and the accompanying Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail.