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Goonda /Crook Brained Ambanis!!!

Posted by egovindia on August 4, 2006

Goonda /Crook Brained Ambanis!!!



Tehelka has carried out yet another excellent exposure.


Ambanis are genetically criminal minded is illustrated by this story. Framers were promised Rs.310 per sq.yrd by the CM when rate announce by DM was Rs.800/- for land next to highway and Rs.500/- away from highway. But the market price of developed land in the area is Rs.13,500/- sq.yrd. Unitech Builders paid about Rs.5 crores per acre in adjacent Greater Noida. The price Anil Ambani is willing to pay is mere Rs. 7,26,000 per acre.


In return for cheap land people of the densely populated region between Ghaziabad, Noida, Greater Noida more development coming up will get air pollution, Carbon Dioxide and increased atmospheric temperature. Project could be located 100 km downstream of Ganga river/ canal, where land will be cheaper.


2500 acres of land acquired is 1.2 crore sq,yrd so the cost of land acquired is at DM ordered rates shall be just around Rs.700 crores. For a 10,000 MW power project to cost say Rs.30,000 crores or just over 2%.


When 3500 MW/ 10,000 MW or Rs.10,000 crores/ Rs.30,000 crores project is installed, such units are expected to generate 1400 crore/4000 crore units annually. Assuming Anil Ambani eventually pays Rs.400 crores, difference comes to only Rs.300 crores which is 3% or 1% of the capital cost.


At 5% to 8% rate of interest on Rs.300 crores shall be Rs.15 crores to Rs.24 crores. This just 0.01paisa or 0.005paisa – not even One Paisa Per Unit. But the delay in execution of the project due to disturbance could prove much costlier.


The above calculation is an illustration that even if Anil Ambani honors the promise made by his Political Mentor of Rs.310/ sq.yrd against Rs.150/- he is willing to pay, difference in generation cost shall be a fraction of One Paisa.


Goonda and Criminal minded Ambanis have not learnt to do business honorably and honestly.


This drama reflects poorly on the credibility of the UP government going for polls next year.


Ravinder Singh


Farmer woes loom over reliance plant

Aug 05 , 2006

Vineet Khare


The Dadri plant in Uttar Pradesh is touted to be the world’s largest gas-based power project. But thousands of farmers have not got the compensation they were promised. Corruption has denied them a fair price, reports Vineet Khare


The dispute over compensation given to farmers for land acquired by the Uttar Pradesh government for the Reliance power plant at Dadri could turn out to be a speedbreaker in the project’s completion.


While farmers say their land has been taken away at cheap rates, officials of Anil Ambani-led Reliance Energy Limited (REL) claim that vested interests are hell bent on politicising the project. They say the project will provide much-needed power to several states in the region.


REL has already spent about Rs 125 crore on the project that spans seven villages including Dehra and Bajhera Khurd, hamlets in Ghaziabad district, and is like to affect nearly 30,000 families. The project was initially planned to generate 3,500 mw, but its capacity has been increased to 7,500 mw. Sources say REL plans to further up it to 10,000 mw.


The story dates to February 22, 2004, when hundreds of families gathered to hear CM Mulayam Singh announce the project. After all, he was about to launch the world’s largest gas-based power plant in their neighbourhood. The only nagging factor was the proposed price for nearly 2,500 acres spanning seven villages to be acquired for the Rs 13,000 crore project.


Says 65-year-old Deepa Singh of Bajheda Khurd: “The CM first said he would give us Rs 250 per square yard. When farmers protested, he upped the rate to Rs 260. He subsequently stopped at Rs 310. Everyone agreed. We feel cheated at being paid Rs 150 square yard instead of the promised Rs 310. The announcement was made in front of thousands of farmers.” The matter was widely reported in local dailies.


Since they didn’t get that price, farmers began protesting against the government’s acquisition price saying it was less than the market price and contrary to the promises made by UP Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav. Former Prime Minister VP Singh and Jan Morcha leader Raj Babbar were recent entrants into the Dadri fray. As the agitation ripened, so did the State’s response. Almost two-and-a-half years after the project was announced, lathi-wielding Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) personnel beat protesting farmers in Bajhera Khurd.


A fact-finding report by Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology director Vandana Shiva recounts the incident: “On the night of July 7, and morning on July 8, 2006, police battalions and the private security force of Reliance invaded the village of Bajhera Khurd, Ghaziabad, beat up women in the village, stole cash and other expensive belongings… broke every vehicle and stole every mobile.”


REL officials refute the involvement of “so-called private security guards”. “Like anyone trying to protect one’s assets, we called up the police which took action. How come Reliance figures in this,” asked a Reliance official.


Narmada Bachao Andolan convenor Medha Patkar, who met the victims, says: “While it’s the police who mercilessly beat up farmers, cases have been registered against farmers.”


The fact-finding report lists some grounds for the farmer dissatisfaction. “The prices in the market are Rs 13,500 square metre. On top of this, the government of UP has waived all the stamp fees and other related costs for buying the land for Reliance, along with the subsidy in which Reliance would pay only 40 percent of the costs and the government would pay the rest. This deal has been done under the Land Acquisition Act of the government under which the government can only acquire land of the farmers and villagers for public development projects and not for private commercial purposes. Reliance is reportedly planning to use 2,700 acres for the project, when experts say 700-800 acres would be sufficient.


The land is the prime agriculture land of northern India and is often touted as one of the most fertile lands of the world, with the alluvial layer deeper than 300 metres. The land is also abundant with water and is just 2-3 km away from the main Ganga Canal. Reliance has also barbed the land with wires.”


An REL spokesperson counters, “The acquisition process was in line with the various government guidelines and orders. A land negotiation committee was constituted to decide the compensation and it included representatives of the administration. The compensation was agreed upon and over 5,000 farmers signed kararnamas (letter of agreement). The farmers got more than four to five times of the then prevailing circle and market rate. The farmers were paid Rs 150 per square yard against a prevailing rate of Rs 30 to Rs 70. Reliance paid a stamp duty of Rs 4.9 crore.”


Ghaziabad’s Upper Additional District Magistrate (ADM) (Rehabilitation) SB Tewari says the Press misreported the announcement. He said the price of Rs 310 per square yard was for Greater Noida and not for Dehra. “The CM didn’t have Dehra on his mind. He was talking about Greater Noida, just a few kilometres away. Also more than 90 percent farmers have signed kararnamas.”


While farmers say Mulayam agreed for Rs 310 per square yard, the Ghaziabad district magistrate’s office passed an order on March 27, 2004 fixing minimum land price. This is what gives reason for the critics to hint at a possible collusion with land sharks and hint at profiteering in the name of development. The order fixed the minimum rates at Rs 500 per sq m for land away from the road to Dehra and Rs 800 per sq m if the land was adjacent to the road. Government officials attribute this jump in land price to REL’s announcement of its Dadri project.


Allegations of corruption in compensation distribution are rampant. While the administration claims the farmers “willingly” parted with their land and took compensation, farmers say the administration forced them to sell their land cheap and threatened action if they didn’t. Farmers blame officials for taking cuts. Bashir, a dalit farmer, says he was paid a paltry Rs 4 lakh for his 3.75 bighas, by the government. “We were asked to sign affidavits, which were in English. I was made to sign documents saying I am being paid Rs 150 per square yard, but I got Rs 115. The cheque issued was in the name of a cooperative bank.” Tehelka has a copy of a passbook with the opening balance in minus.


Alleges another farmer: “The bank officials were hand-in-glove with the administration and paid them a cut. The money, along with the interest, was deducted from our accounts.”


Modinagar MLA Narendra Sisodiya says: “Some officers threatened dalits and acquired their land for around Rs 20,000 per acre and sold it for lakhs. The administration lured a few farmers and declared all farmers have agreed, and then pressured them to tow the line.” It’s not as if the administration did not anticipate the upsurge in land prices. Adds an official: “Senior officials are aware about projects coming up in their areas and how it will impact land prices. They use inside knowledge to their benefit.” Samajwadi Party’s Ghaziabad mla Surendra Kumar Munni says he has apprised the CM of the farmers’ grievances, but refused to elaborate how the dissatisfaction would be redressed.


ADM (Rehab) Tewari says he has seen such passbooks and has heard complaints about alleged bank misdeeds, but hasn’t taken any action because no one has complained in writing.


The project has been mired in controversy from Day One. The project was cleared by the Uttar Pradesh Vikas Parishad, which advises the state on investment. Says lawyer Vishwanath Chaturvedi, who is planning to approach the court on the alleged favouritism shown to REL. “The state declared concessions under Urja Neeti 2003 which were unsustainable.”


Sunil Singh, Member of Legislative Council from Aligarh, says “The Urja Neeti 2003 was formulated by UP Vikas Parishad of which (Anil) Ambani is a member. Thus, Reliance faced no competition. We don’t know at what rate power would be supplied to UP as no power purchase agreement has been signed. The State Support Agreement signed between the government and Reliance has not been tabled in the Assembly. The energy department acquired the land at Rs 150 per square metre and handed it over to REL (or REGL) for Rs 60. Despite that, the government says it has suffered no loss.” The answer perhaps lies in an “urgent and confidential” letter from REL executive vice-chairman Satish Seth to the UP CM on January 15, 2004, in which he says: “As envisaged, this project neither requires any power purchase agreement and payment security mechanism nor state government guarantee and thus there is no burden on the financial position of the state” Seth goes on to seek assistance for “UP government’s support agreement to facilitate this large investor, particularly environmental clearance.” Adds a REL official: “We have agreed to supply power at Rs 2, but we can approach the UP regulatory authority in case any need arises.” Critics allege REL was awarded this project on the basis of this letter that was an invitation to offer and not a legal offer. However, company officials say REL went through a proper bidding process.


 Critics refuse to budge. In a note then Special Secretary, Finance, Shiva Nand Giri, says: “The sops are of two kinds: first, the government will have to facilitate a certain sum through its budget within a limited period of signing of the agreement. Secondly, the state would have to leave revenue earned through entry tax, trade tax and stamp and registration tax. It is difficult to work out the figure at this stage but the state government is being denied possible revenues. Under the Urja Neeti, sanctioned on June 8, 2004, expenditure on land and rehab was to be shared by the state (60 percent) and the company (40 percent). According to Clause 4.1(a)(ii), of the agreement, the land cost wouldn’t exceed Rs 12 lakh per acre and the company would shell out Rs 4.8 lakh. However, the state will have bear the increased cost if it does. This doesn’t match with the Urja Neeti. These clauses should be changed. Its further clarification says that the state will have to give this money within 120 days of signing the agreement.


Special secretary, energy, has informed the finance department that 2,509 acres is being acquired for Reliance Energy, of which 2,230 acres belong to niji kashtakar. The DM has assessed its cost as Rs 4 lakh per acre. Thus, the entire land would cost Rs 90 crore. A price rise is expected. If it’s assumed that the price will double, the state will have to shell out double the money which would be against the Neeti. According to Clause 4.5 of the agreement, the state will have to create roads, bridges, lining within 365 days of signing the agreement. Estimates by special secretary, energy, say the irrigation department and the pwd would have to facilitate Rs 60 crore and Rs 15 crore. This would be an ‘outgo’ from the budget…. ”


In February 2004, a notification was issued by the state government under the Land Acquisition Act notifying the land as needed for setting up a gas-based thermal power general plant, energy research centre and other projects. Repeated attempts to get the UP government’s version did not yield results as no officials wanted to come on record.


The REL site office has a few air-conditioned tin-shaded office-cum-houses surrounded by barbed wire, manned by armed pac personnel. Project director Rakesh Raman insists there’s no reason for concern and the project would be completed in 2009. “Two-thousand-one-hundred acres have already been transferred to Reliance by the state’s Energy Department, which acquired the land on behalf of the state. The engineering work is on. We have obtained all clearances, including civil aviation clearance and environmental clearance. We have signed power take-off agreements with UP, Delhi, Rajasthan, Haryana and Punjab.”


Raman says the company is planning a wall along the boundary. But what about the all-important gas? Officials insist “everything has been finalised except the price which would soon be taken care of.”


 The region is surrounded by a vast expanse of fertile agricultural land where wheat and pulses. The acquired land has been surrounded by barbed wire, which has been breached by farmers at several places. In a corner, a group of people collected under a tent in the scorching heat and they affirm their willingness to fight against the state’s “injustices”. They have been joined by bigwigs. However, it’s the farmers who foot the bill for hoardings and dharnas. After all, they have just received hefty compensation! A Jan Morcha representative said: “Since it’s a farmers’ movement, they should foot the bill, otherwise there are chances of the agenda being hijacked by outside fundraisers.”


The agitation has taken a toll on farmers, though they say the agitation will continue. All their time is spent on devising ways of influencing the state. They have formed the Maharana Sangram Kisan Kalyan Samiti.


Despite the agitation against the project, REL officials are optimistic. Says a senior official: “It would be a world class project with one grid to supply power to UP, while the other to supply power to other states. There would also be a residential facility for around a thousand families. There would be huge lake in the midst to fulfil the plant’s water needs. A sports complex is also on the cards.”


But can the company stick to its 2009 deadline in the midst of the hue and cry? And what about the jobs promised to farmers?



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