SHRI T.M. SELVAGANPATHI (SALEM): Hon. Chairman, Sir, thank you very much for giving me this opportunity. I would be failing in my duty if I do not thank my beloved dynamic leader of AIADMK, Puratchi Thalaivi, Dr. Jayalalitha and the people of my constituency. It would not be out of context if I mention that in eighties when I was a student of Economics and Law from Jawaharlal Nehru University and Delhi University respectively, I had an occasion to sit in the gallery of this august House. I was peeping down to know what was happening on the floor of the House. The Watch and Ward staff pushed me back. I thank my Leader for having elevated me to come to floor of this House and make a maiden speech today.

Sir, I rise to strongly oppose this Bill because this is a Bill which seeks to sell out the nation's precious wealth in the hands of multinational corporations of the foreigners. Under the garb of delegating more powers to the State Governments, this Bill is a sweet coated poison which would ultimately sell out the entire wealth of this nation to the foreigners. We had enough experience of the East India Company which ruled this country for 200 years. One company took 200 years to be driven out. We are now going to allow hundreds of such companies. You may imagine the situation, what would be the fate of the country? What are we going to leave for the future generation? This should be the concern or apathy that everyone of us should think over.

I would say that this is a half-baked and an ambiguous Bill. There are provisions in this Bill which delegate more power to the State Governments. Of course, it is not a charity. Ours is not a unitary form of Government. India is a Union of States where the States are vested with soils and sub-soils. All these mines and minerals are vested with the State Government. So, why is it delegated to the State now by the Himalayan Union Government? I would say that there is a hidden agenda. Afterall, what are the State Governments going to do with this? Basically, there is no budgetary support for the State Government to extract and exploit these natural resources. So, even if they do not want to, they will have to give it away. This is my opposition to this Bill. By giving powers to the States, the Government is giving an authority to the States. Does the Bill ensures accountability and responsibility? As my learned friend Shri K.P. Singh Deo has already pointed out, the accountability and responsibility should be taken care of. There has to be a provision in this Bill in this regard, which to my surprise is absent.

There are daring examples of misuse of this power. There are innumerable instances where the State Government has been exploiting this power. Sir, I am an ardent supporter of delegating more powers to the State yet there are instances where this authority is being totally carried away wrongly.

To cite certain examples, I would like to draw the attention of this august House to the plight of the people of Tamil Nadu where exist a cement mafia. This cement mafia, under the leadership of India Cement Ltd., of Tamil Nadu, formed an unholy syndicate which controls the entire cement industry in Tamil Nadu. Please see the plight of the people now because of the act of the mafia. They recently acquired five-six factories worth several crores of rupees. Hundreds of crores of rupees have been invested for the modernisation of these factories controlling about 75 per cent of the supply of cement in Tamil Nadu. This mafia, in order to earn all the money in a short circuit, devised a way in which they are the people who dominate the market and control the price and fix the price of the commodity.

DR. A.D.K. JAYASEELAN (TIRUCHENDUR): It is irrelevant, Sir.

SHRI T.M. SELVAGANPATHI : It is relevant. I am drawing the attention of the House as to how it is relevant. Let me tell the hon. Member; my learned friend may wait for my explanation as to how it is relevant. I will explain as to how it is relevant.

MR. CHAIRMAN : Please listen to me. This is your maiden speech. So, I am not objecting to it. Please come to the point. Please be brief.

SHRI T.M. SELVAGANPATHI : I am not saying anything irrelevant. I am coming to the point. If my friend is kind enough not to interrupt my speech, I would explain as to how this point is inter-linked...(Interruptions)

I am not the Chairman. I am sorry, I am not yielding.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Please be relevant and come to the point.

SHRI T.M. SELVAGANPATHI : I am relevant. The Chairman will appreciate my point of view. The Bill seeks to exclude limestone. Limestone which was vested in the Government of India has been deleted from Schedule one. Limestone is the predominant product and a raw material for the production of cement. How do you think this is not relevant? I would submit, if there is accountability and responsibility, this mafia ...(Interruptions)

SHRI S.S. PALANIMANICKAM (THANJAVUR): He is using a word which is objectionable.

MR. CHAIRMAN: He is not yielding. I am not allowing you.

... (Interruptions)

MR. CHAIRMAN: Please take your seat. Kindly be brief.

SHRI T.M. SELVAGANPATHI : I am brief. Why should I not call the people who are looting the nation as mafia? I am proud to call them mafia. Why are they supporting the mafia in this House? ...(Interruptions)

MR. CHAIRMAN: Please come to the point.

SHRI T.M. SELVAGANPATHI : I am coming to the point. Why is cement costing Rs.195 in Tamil Nadu? The price in Andhra Pradesh is Rs.120. The price in Karnataka is Rs.140. It is the only place where the value of cement is Rs.195.

I would like to say that there is absolutely no construction activity in Tamil Nadu. The whole construction activity is thrown out of gear. The people who have invested money, because of the sudden spurt in the prices, have to stop the construction half way. I would like to submit that this mafia has the patronage and the blessings of the State Government in Tamil Nadu.

SHRI S.S. PALANIMANICKAM : We are objecting to it. They are the mafia.

MR. CHAIRMAN: This is an Amendment Bill and has a limited scope. Its scope is very limited. Please come to the point.

... (Interruptions)

MR. CHAIRMAN : Please come to the amendment and speak about it.

... (Interruptions)

SHRI T.M. SELVAGANPATHI : The cement companies under the leadership of India Cement Limited have friendship with the hon. Minister for Commerce and Industry of this Government for a long period of 25 years. Do you deny this?...(Interruptions)

SHRI S.S. PALANIMANICKAM : Sir, this is objectionable. This should not be in the record...(Interruptions)

MR. CHAIRMAN: Please do not make such remarks.

... (Interruptions)

SHRI T.M. SELVAGANPATHI : I have ample publications of the Press which have brought everything to light....(Interruptions)

MR. CHAIRMAN: This will not go into the record.

(Interruptions)*

MR. CHAIRMAN: Why are you making such remarks?

... (Interruptions)

MR. CHAIRMAN: Shri Palanimanickam, please take your seat.

... (Interruptions)

_____________________________________________________________________________

*Not Recorded.

SHRI S.S. PALANIMANICKAM : Sir, he has no right to speak like this.....(Interruptions)

SHRI T.M. SELVAGANPATHI : They encourage such a spurt and loot people's money....(Interruptions)

MR. CHAIRMAN: Do not make such remarks. Otherwise, this will not go into the record.

... (Interruptions)

MR. CHAIRMAN: I am again and again saying not to make such remarks.

... (Interruptions)

SHRI T.M. SELVAGANPATHI : Sir, will you allow Members to interrupt me when I am making people's point of view here?...(Interruptions)

MR. CHAIRMAN: I am allowing you but you have to link it.

... (Interruptions)

SHRI T.M. SELVAGANPATHI : Yes Sir. I am linking it up by saying that if limestone is given to the State, then there has to be a check and balance. This mafia will surround the whole thing and see that the limestone is not available for the other manufactures. I would request the hon. Minister to ensure that limestone is freely available for everyone in the State who intend to make use of it....(Interruptions)

SHRI S.S. PALANIMANICKAM : Their days are numbered. ...(Interruptions)

SHRI T.M. SELVAGANPATHI : Let us see whose days are numbered. ..(interruptions)

SHRI S.S. PALANIMANICKAM: It is under trial...(Interruptions)

MR. CHAIRMAN: Please take your seat.

... (Interruptions)

SHRI T.M. SELVAGANPATHI : I leave it to the imaginations of the honourable House as to how this has been managed and manipulated.

AN HON. MEMBER: What has been manipulated?

SHRI T.M. SELVAGANPATHI : The price of cement is being manipulated with the help of the State Government.

Another reason for which we are harping on this issue is because it hits the people. If limestone is given to them, they will plunder the resources to their own satisfaction and to their own whims and fancies. Therefore, I would urge the hon. Minister to have accountability and responsibility when he gives this particular power to the State Governments.

There is another point regarding illegal mining. This Bill seeks to give more powers to stop illegal mining in the States. Bauxite is abundant in the State of Tamil Nadu, particularly in Namakkal and Salem from where I come. Bauxite is abundant in that kolli hills where there are instances of people carrying on with illegal mining without any check. I would like to point out that there are innumerable occasions where private entrepreneurs are allowed to mine bauxite ore. One such company which was allowed to plunder this resource is Gautam Bauxite Mines. In this case, mining licence lease was given to the Company for only two years. In those two years, several crores worth of illegal bauxite mining took place with the help of the officials. What happened after the expiry of the lease? It is startling, dastardly act of this Company continued to plunder the resources even after the expiry of the lease. I request the hon. Minister to take note of this point. Sir, there has been indiscriminate mining and extraction of bauxite at the rate of 500 tonnes per day.

This has been supplied to the local companies. This particular area is an ecologically fragile area. It has potential value. But heavy deforestation is going on. Trees of hundred years of age and more have been cut into sizes and nobody is there to check. There are hundreds of medicinal herbs in these hilly areas which are used for Siddha medicines. This company, which has been extracting this mineral unchecked, has destroyed almost hundred acres of land

there. A partner of this company, I allege, is no other than the son in law of a local State Minister of the DMK Government. Can they deny it?...(Interruptions)

MR. CHAIRMAN : Please come to your point.

SHRI T.M. SELVAGANPATHI : The point is that Rs.50 crore worth of bauxite ore has been taken away...(Interruptions)

MR. CHAIRMAN: I have already said that this is an Amendment Bill. Come to the amendments. What is your view in this matter?

... (Interruptions)

SHRI T.M. SELVAGANPATHI : I am saying that there is no accountability and responsibility vested with the State Government to check all the illegal mining activities...(Interruptions)

MR. CHAIRMAN: Hon. Members, please sit down. Now, he is concluding.

... (Interruptions)

SHRI T.M. SELVAGANPATHI : I take the responsibility of proving this...(Interruptions) I take the responsibility for what I said...(Interruptions)

SHRI S.S. PALANIMANICKAM : Is this the way of presenting his case? During the tenure of their Government, they swindled crores and crores of rupees by way of giving contract to the granite contractors...(Interruptions)

MR. CHAIRMAN: This is not the proper way of doing things.

... (Interruptions)

SHRI S.S. PALANIMANICKAM:* He is facing a case in the Special Court. The day of judgement is numbered. He should not be allowed like this. This is not fair...(Interruptions)

MR. CHAIRMAN: Shri Selvaganapthy, please conclude now.

... (Interruptions)

SHRI S.S. PALANIMANICKAM : We will not allow him to say like this. He is continuing like this. He should not have said this...(Interruptions)

______________________________________________________________________________

*Expunged as ordered by the Chair

MR. CHAIRMAN: He is concluding now. This is not the proper way of doing things. You are not taking your seat. First, you sit down.

... (Interruptions)

MR. CHAIRMAN: Shri Selvaganapthy, kindly conclude now. You have taken your time. I have no objection to your taking the time of your Party. Please cooperate and conclude.

SHRI T.M. SELVAGANPATHI : Sir, this is my maiden speech. I am coming to the point. I am cooperating with you. Please allow me. This is an important Bill. We have to express many things in regard to this Bill. I have not come to the core of this Bill...(Interruptions)

MR. CHAIRMAN: I know that this is a very important Bill. Please conclude now.

SHRI T.M. SELVAGANPATHI : Another sector which needs greater attention is granite. Once it was mine and mineral. It has now got a major value. It has an export value almost to the tune of Rs.3,000 crore. It has its own foreign exchange earning value. Again, in the State of Tamil Nadu, one thing happened...(Interruptions) I hope they do not interrupt me. They do not know what I am going to mention...(Interruptions)

MR. CHAIRMAN : Shri Selvaganapathi, this is an amendment Bill for the whole nation, not for Tamil Nadu alone.

... (Interruptions)

SHRI T.M. SELVAGANAPATHI : Sir, the State of Tamil Nadu has wonderful resources of granite. During the A.I.A.D.M.K. regime under the dynamic leadership of Puratchi Thalaivi Dr. Jayalalithaji ...(Interruptions) Why am I not allowed to quote my leader's name? What is the harm? (Interruptions) These are the people who have got the policy of victimisation. (Interruptions)

MR. CHAIRMAN: Shri Selvaganapathi, please conclude now. I am going to call the next Member to speak.

... (Interruptions)

SHRI T.M. SELVAGANAPATHI : Sir, I have to make a very important point. I am talking about Rule 39. Rule 39 was introduced to the Minor and Minerals Concessions Rules and quarry leases were given to private entrepreneurs. It was a dying industry and it was having a slow death of its own. It was regenerated and leasing right was given to private parties. At that time, some vested interests have even challenged the enactment of this particular rule before the Supreme Court. But the enactment of this rule was upheld to be in the interest of the nation and to be a case which brings immense foreign exchange reserves.

Sir, the reason for my mentioning all these things is, enormous powers in the mining sector sometimes makes even the moderate States to misuse the powers. Therefore, I seek accountability and responsibility. The D.M.K. rule, which is vengeful and which adopts a policy of victimisation to settle political scores, has indiscriminately filed criminal case ...(Interruptions)

MR. CHAIRMAN: Shri Selvaganapathi, you have to conclude and take your seat now. I am going to call the next Member.

... (Interruptions)

SHRI T.M. SELVAGANAPATHI : Sir, the reason why I am not allowed to speak facts with regard to mines and minerals is because there is a case pending in the court. (Interruptions)

MR. CHAIRMAN: Shri Selvaganapathi, please conclude now. I am going to call the next Member.

... (Interruptions)

SHRI S.S. PALANIMANICKAM : Mr. Chairman, Sir, in one of the cases of corruption, the judgement has been given and a former Minister belonging to the A.I.A.D.M.K. has been convicted. (Interruptions) Under the leadership of ... * granite worth crores of rupees had been sold away during the five years rule of A.I.A.D.M.K. in Tamil Nadu. (Interruptions)

______________________________________________________________________________

*Expunged as ordered by the Chair.

SHRI T.M. SELVAGANAPATHI : Sir, the erstwhile Minister was interested in the increase of foreign exchange to the country. (Interruptions)

SHRI P.H. PANDIYAN (TIRUNELVELI): Mr. Chairman, Sir, nobody should block the discussion.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Yes; I have not blocked.

SHRI P.H. PANDIYAN : Sir, there should be a free and frank discussion and nobody should block the discussion. This is Parliament. If there is anything unparliamentary, it can be expunged. But nobody, whether belonging to this side or that side, should block the discussion. (Interruptions) I have been observing since morning that if a particular Member raises his voice, he can calm down the other Members. This should not be done and only one Member should speak at a time. (Interruptions)

SHRI S.S. PALANIMANICKAM : But, he should not hurt the feelings of others. (Interruptions)

MR. CHAIRMAN: Please take your seat.

... (Interruptions)

MR. CHAIRMAN: I have to guide the House, not you. Please take your seat.

... (Interruptions)

SHRI P.H. PANDIYAN : Sir, the Chair should rule that no Member should block the discussion. No Member should be restrained by another Member by raising his voice. We can also raise our voice, but we are observing restraint. (Interruptions)

MR. CHAIRMAN: Shri Selvaganapathi, please conclude now.

... (Interruptions)

SHRI ADHI SANKAR (CUDDALORE): Mr. Chairman, Sir, he is giving false information to the House. (Interruptions)

MR. CHAIRMAN: Shri Selvaganapathi, please conclude now.

... (Interruptions)

SHRI T.M. SELVAGANAPATHI : Sir, even though the then Minister was charge-sheeted, he has been elected by the people of Karur constituency and sitting here as an hon. Member of this House. (Interruptions) When they victimise us, we will be more powerful among the public. (Interruptions)

MR. CHAIRMAN: Shri Selvaganapathi, please conclude now. I am calling the next Member. Shri Punnu Lal Mohale.

... (Interruptions)

SHRI T.M. SELVAGANAPATHI : Sir, I am concluding. Please allow me for a minute more.

MR. CHAIRMAN: No; please conclude now.

... (Interruptions)

SHRI T.M. SELVAGANPATHI: How flimsy reasons have been adduced for cancellation of such mining leases! I would like to say that because a boundary stone was missing in a quarry, the lease was cancelled. This is a pathetic situation. It is so unfortunate that a Government is run in such a fashion where our resources - the foreign exchange reserves - have been depleted like this. This is another industry which earns crores and crores of rupees in foreign exchange for this nation. Therefore, I draw the attention of the hon. Minister to regulate such type of a menace.


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