Friday, September 23, 2011

2G - Paryavaran Bhavan Holds the Key

It has taken a while to come out, but the 2G spectrum scam has just cast a wider net. Puzzled as the four of us who read this blog may be about what has Paryavaran Bhavan, the office of the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) got to do with the 2G spectrum scandal, the truth is far deeper than most of us, including even those fighting cases for getting top ministers investigated (pointed reference Subramanian Swamy) have perhaps imagined.

The whole scam actually started with Mr. Andimuthu Raja becoming Minister of Environment in 2004. The period between 2004-2007 should be marked as one of the darkest chapters in the history of environmental governance in India. A lot of companies got clearances in ways that could make Somalia look like it adheres to law and order. Cronyism was at its peak. Clearances, officers, project reports - name any item, and it was bought and sold. Most of the controversial mining that has since been brought to the public notice obtained clearances during this period (see here to get an idea of what I mean).

So what does this have to do with the 2G spectrum, you may ask. Well, it was during this period of time that certain companies namely Reliance, DB Realty, Unitech, DLF, Indiabulls Real Estate, Omaxe, Parsvnath, Essar and many others came in touch with Mr. Raja. Gaining clearances for various kinds of projects was reduced to a mere passing reference, and a lot of these projects certainly deserve to be scrutinized again, and would certainly not stand even a casual scrutiny, given the flimsiness of their grounds for clearances. When Mr. Raja was 'promoted' to the position of Telecom and IT minister, he intimated his 'friends' so that benefits could be given out. This was brought to notice months ago by former Telecom Minister Mr. Arun Shourie (read here to know more), but curiously, no one has paid any attention yet.

Truth of the matter is that the money trails and the shenanigans have a much longer trail than is being made out right now. There is a convenient hush-hush, and accusations often fly about the deliberate attacking of this 'amazing growth story' of India. But a growth story that ignores the very builders of it, and that relies on putting at risk people at large, financially, physically and emotionally, is not any growth that I desire. I would rather be a poor country with honest people. Why is this government not trying to investigate these allegations, nor has the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) done anything about it? Is it not their duty to examine these issues in greater detail? Perhaps, fact of the matter is that the ramifications of all this are so large no one in the corridors of power has the guts to face the truth and take corrective measures.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nvr read abt this... informative & useful... nothing has changed though...in practical means...am working for client seeking EIA clearance for an educational institute already in operation! I wonder whether the so called 14 committee members of MoEF know the basic definition of an EIA Study...

Holds A Sharp Pen said...

Rajshree, that's wonderfully put across. EIAs are a sham in India to say the least. The fact that the EIA notification does not explain what an EIA means is in itself the answer to your question.

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