Cong seizes auditor’s comments on GSPC to target Modi who was CM of Gujarat
New Delhi: The auditor is back at the centre of political controversy, this time as a tool in the hands of the Congress to target Prime Minister Narendra Modi for alleged lack of return on investments made by the Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation. Congress spokesman Jairam Ramesh in his customary flamboyance on Monday declared that the “only gas the GSPC project eventually produced was a lot of political gas and nothing else”. Clearly, the Congress is fielding one of its eloquent rabble rousers whose stint in theenvironmentministry,manyUPA insiders say, was equally activist.
The issue at hand is, however, more serious.Atonelevel,it’stheworrying trendof anotherventureatexploiting gas in the KG basin at depths ranging from20to60mthathasnotquitedelivered against initial promise, raising issues of long-term energy security.
At a different level, however, this is also being seen as a case of investment going wrong or not delivering on expected return. But the CAG audit describes it as “wasteful expenditure” to the tune of ₹ 19,716 crore.
Either way, the heat is on GSPC to now show production against its investment. The larger question, however, is the political play on the issue. The fact is the Gujarat government has got the audit done a year before it was due apparently because it had indications that things were not going according to plan.
This act of “proactive oversight” has now given Congress a handle to personalisetheattackonthePM.The extremelanguageusedbytheauditor like “zero return to the exchequer” or “public money lies virtually wasted”, to count a few, is now music to Congress’s ears as the many in the party euphorically feel they have got Modi his 2G-like headache.
While that may be farfetched, it’s now for the BJP to temperate the grammar. The fact is that these are high-risk long-gestation projects with no assured return at the start.
GSPC is being seen as a case of investment going wrong or not delivering on expected return
CAG SHASHI KANT SHARMA