NEW DELHI: NTPC produces power, naturally. Not so naturally, it also supplies to the powerful. Indiaâ€™s top utility, a listed company 10.5% of whose stock is held by the public, is busy these days not just generating thermal power, but also supplying power ministry honchos with eatables, floor carpets, car rides, plasma TVs, even footing their telephone bills.
The NTPC chairman and managing director could not be contacted for his comments on the development.
A disclosure under the Right to Information (RTI) Act has revealed that NTPC spent more than Rs 50 lakh in the last two years supplying power ministry mavens with a range of comforts ranging from electric lawn mowers to plasma TVs, sure, all for office use. These details were furnished by NTPC after the Central Information Commissioner (CIC) asked the PSU to respond to a petition filed in this regard. The petition, filed by an Allahabad-based individual, had earlier been rejected by NTPC on grounds that the information required was personal in nature. The CIC slammed that defence citing that the main objective of the RTI Act was to ensure transparency in the functioning of public authorities.
In its detailed reply, NTPC admits that it had incurred Rs 2.78 lakh in the last two years providing "consumable items" to the ministry. This has been broken down as pantry items (Rs 2.4 lakh) and stationery worth Rs 38,000.
NTPC plays golden goose for ministry-Power-Energy-News By Industry-News-The Economic Times
NEW DELHI: The BJP has taken the Right to Information (RTI) route to lay bare what it sees as the â€˜wheat import scamâ€™. The party sniffs huge irregularities in the deal and has even claimed that its stand has been vindicated.
Armed with the details secured through the RTI, the party on Thursday reiterated its demand for the dismissal of Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar and wanted a CBI inquiry into the entire episode, which, it alleged, had caused a big loss to the exchequer.
With the monsoon session of Parliament commencing on Friday, the party has made up its mind to haul up the ruling combine over the alleged bungling. â€œThe prime minister must come clean on the subject,â€ BJP spokesman Prakash Javadekar said here on Thursday afternoon.
The BJP, Mr Javadekar said, had sought information on the reasons for the cancellation of the first round of bids invited at the rate of $263 per million tonne (MT) in May this year. The food and consumer affairs ministry cited six factors that led to the termination of the tenders at the said rate.
â€œTenders were floated by the STC on behalf of the government in May. After negotiations with the foreign suppliers, the STC recommended purchase of 3.06 lakh tonnes of wheat at $263/MT. However, none of the bids were accepted by the government as the STC had said there were possibilities of a softening of prices for arrival beyond August 2007 compared to the June-August prices received in the tender,â€ the information made available through the RTI read.
There were other factors, too, including reports that the Australian crop to be harvested during November-December, 2007 was described as â€œgoodâ€ by the International Grain Council, talk of declining price curve of wheat in the international market by all the three related agencies, namely the IGC, Reuters and the Chicago Board of Trade, the governmentâ€™s decision to take advantage of future market conditions, fears that acceptance of imported wheat at prices higher than procurement price in the domestic market would induce discontentment among the farmers and apprehensions that the traders would resort to hoarding wheat stocks in the hope of a future price rise.
â€œThis was the governmentâ€™s assessment on June 1 this year,â€ Mr Javadekar said, adding, â€œIt suddenly changed its stance around June 10 and decided to re-tender for the import of 50 lakh MT of wheat immediately.â€
Tenders were floated for 5.11 million tonnes of wheat, which were subsequently awarded to three firms at a weighted average price of $325/MT. â€œThis is a clear admission of not only a flip-flop or an error of judgement, but foul play,â€ the BJP spokesman said. The governmentâ€™s decision to import wheat, notwithstanding its own assessment, proves that something happened behind the scenes during the first week of June and some vested interests had played their part, he added.