In the ninth instalment of questions under the series, 'Hum Adani Ke Hai Kaun' (HAHK), the Congress party has asked three questions to prime minister (PM) Narendra Modi related to misuse of India's foreign policy, mainly with Bangladesh and the projects awarded to Adani group in that country.
Jairam Ramesh, member of Parliament (MP) and general secretary for communication of Congress, says, "This set of questions relates to your misuse of foreign policy, in this case, relations with our neighbour Bangladesh, to enrich your corporate cronies."
1. In its efforts to strengthen economic relations with our neighbours, the united progressive alliance (UPA) government had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in 2010 for the State-owned National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) to set up a 1,320MW thermal power plant in Bagerhat (Bangladesh). After coming to power, you decided to help your Double A friends instead and during your 6 June 2015 visit to Dhaka, it was announced that Adani Power and Reliance Power would construct thermal power plants to supply electricity to Bangladesh. Is it true that you put pressure on your counterpart PM Sheikh Hasina to accept terms that were extremely favourable to Adani Power and unfavourable to Bangladesh and that the cost of electricity supplied to Bangladesh from Adani's Godda (Jharkhand) power plant is much higher than what its own thermal plants supply? Does enriching your friends at the expense of neighbouring countries further India's foreign policy interests?
2. Jharkhand originally required 25% of the electricity produced by a power plant to be supplied to the state at discounted rates. This was reflected in its initial February 2016 agreement with Adani Power. However, in October 2016, the policy was abruptly amended to benefit Adani. Is it correct that these revised terms will cost Jharkhand an additional Rs7,410 crore over the 25-year lifetime of the project according to a government audit report? Did the office of the state accountant general state in writing on 12 May 2017 that the agreement with Adani amounted to "preferential treatment" and would give the company "undue benefits"? What was your role in persuading then Jharkhand CM Raghubar Das to reverse this longstanding state government policy?
3. In February 2018, Adani Power had applied to set up the Godda power plant as a special economic zone (SEZ) to avail tax benefits. However, the ministry of commerce denied this request because it conflicted with guidelines that prohibited the establishment of a standa-lone power plant inside an SEZ. Yet on 9 January 2019, the ministry of commerce changed its view and amended those guidelines. Shortly thereafter, on 25 February 2019, the board of approval for SEZs approved Adani Power's application. What was the role of the prime minister's office (PMO) in this policy change that benefited Adani Power to the tune of Rs300 crore per year via the elimination of coal import duties?
Read about the previous questions here…