The new nepotist in the UPA

June 10, 2008

What can you expect in a party where the leader of the party promotes the interests of her own dynasty and every leader small or big has to suck up to the family to stick around?

The word is not family values, its nepotism. Earlier Shri. Baalu was promoting the selfish interests of his kin and the “Mr. clean” Manmohanji was abetting this very dutifully. This time it is the son of the most profound thinker of congress who has been trying to use his fathers address and clout to get about doing business.

Shri. Shailesh and Smt. Archana Patil have entered as directors in NV Distilleries Ltd. and were a part of a project in Ambala in Haryana. The plant started the bottling operations of major brands, like seagrams, three months ago.

Shri. Shailesh said that he had a financial stake of 50% in the project and that “Given my family background, I like to keep a low profile. There is nothing about the distillery project we have to hide. I feel very satisfied that such an investment in a rural area provides employment opportunities for poor farmers.”

Now the salient points of the project

  • Chairman Shri. Ashok Jain claims that the Home Minister’s son “has no financial stake.” Jain, however, admits: “Having Shailesh Patil on board added to the profile of my project.”
  • At the distillery site, villagers of Badoli — where most of the land acquisition was done — allege they have been “cheated” by the distillery owners since they were not provided employment as they had been promised. Village Sarpanches of adjoining Gola and Sherpur villages allege their land has been “usurped” as the distillery expands its operations.
  • Here is how the clearances were obtained.

Given the potential impact of distilleries on ground, water and air pollution, the sanction process is guided by elaborate norms of the CREP (Corporate Responsibility for Environmental Protection), Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) as well as strict guidelines imposed by the MoEF, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the state Boards, in this case the HSPCB.

Official records show how the Centre’s permission came in the face of the state pollution control board’s objections:

In August 2006, the HSPCB issued a No-Objection Certificate (NoC) to N V Distilleries, imposing 24 conditions for environmental protection.

The Environment Impact Clearance from the MoEF came in February 2007, with 17 fresh conditions. These clearances were for starting “grain-based liquor production with zero discharge levels” and with a production capacity of 60 KLPD (kilo litres per day).

However, on September 17, 2007, the MoEF sent a letter permitting the distillery to expand the project from 60 KLPD to 75 KLPD. And to exercise a “dual feed” option, that is, production of liquor from either grain or molasses (where the comparative environmental hazard is much higher).

Barely a month later, an inspection by the HSPCB showed deficiencies in the distillery’s water treatment/ effluent flow plants. The inspectors in their report said: “The discharge of waste waster from the processes is a violation of the NoC of the Board/ Environmental clearances issued by the MoEF.”

The HSPCB team said that company representatives be called for a personal explanation and consent for operation of the bottling plant be decided based on the outcome of that meeting.

HSPCB officials in Panchkula told The Sunday Express that in view of these deficiencies, they were surprised by the Central clearance for expansion of the project.

Allowing dual feed, too, was a violation of current guidelines for stand-alone distilleries, Para 2 of which state: “Proposal for stand-alone new distilleries and expansion of existing distilleries without achieving zero discharge in surface water/ ground water will not be considered by MoEF…”

With N V Distilleries becoming a subject of a tussle between the Central and HSPCB authorities, chairman of the pollution control board A S Chahal stepped in and sent a strongly worded letter dated March 31 this year to the Joint Secretary in the MoEF.

Quoting guidelines, he wrote: “The subsequent environmental clearance granted by the Government of India on their own appears to be in violation of guidelines…In view of this, it is requested that facts of the case may please by re-examined…in case of any inconsistency with the provisions of the relevant Act/Rules/Notifications/Guidelines, Environmental clearance so granted may please be reviewed and action, if any at our end may please be intimated accordingly.”

Incidentally it is not just the environmental clearances which are obtained so questionably, the factory is in violation of 4 excise rules.

One does doubt the involvement of Shri. Shivraj in the whole matter, because Shri Shivraj is very busy finding new ways to damage India’s case asking for sarabjit’s clemency and very busy drafting a tourist brochure for more terrorist trainees, but the misuse of official residence “4, Janpath Road” for commercial interests is certainly something that he could not have been aware of. For obvious reasons this should not be allowed to continue in its form.

It would be unnecessary to ask the Home minister to give his resignation, as he would not agree, we should rather show him the door when the elections come in 2009.


3 Responses to “The new nepotist in the UPA”

  1. […] Chemicals I? … World News | Sport, Obituaries – The new nepotist in the UPA By wordlyaffair Given the potential impact of distilleries on ground, water and air pollution, […]

  2. Ganga of ‘corruption’ flows down stream. Gangotri of ‘nepotism’ is the Maa Balidaan Moorti’s efforts to help her fellow ‘country man’ get back his ‘hard earned money. If a certain ‘Qutrochi’ can get away – Saakshi these poor ‘Patils’ are our own na! Atleast they are Indians by accident of their birth.

    Shiv Raj the -Walking Zombie- still has some stature (?) of his own but what about the Cook of the Crook oops Sonia who not only got the congress ticket to contest from HP but her majesty made sure that ‘he’ won too much to the chagrin of local leaders.


  3. Air pollution – stats per US state and county…

    […] prices are well above that mark and will likely remain there, the problem has become the environmentalists who fear pollution above economic hardships brought on by high-priced motor fuels.But what if we can all have our cake and eat […]…

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