SHRI S. JAIPAL REDDY : Therefore, my point is, please for God sake give up these totally ridiculous but dangerous proposals and make a statement to this effect. The power consumers all over the country are exercised over this. Please for God sake save both NHPC and NTPC. I hope that the Minister will take a positive look at this.

SHRI BASU DEB ACHARIA (BANKURA): Mr. Deputy-Speaker, Sir, at the outset I would like to register my protest the way the Minister of Power has replied to the Calling Attention Motion submitted by us.

Sir, there is a difference between the statement that he made on the floor of the House and the information which was given to the hon. Speaker. There, he has stated and I quote:

"In order to provide the impetus for hydro power development it would be advantageous to use synergy and combined strength of both NTPC and NHPC. The financial strength and managerial capabilities of NTPC could be mobilised along with technical skills of NHPC for accelerated hydro power development. NHPC has been entrusted with the implementation of three hydro electric projects namely ..."

All these he has mentioned. It further says:

"It is, therefore proposed to mobilise the resources by leveraging the financial strength of NTPC for hydro development."

But here he has avoided everything. ... (Interruptions)

SHRI P.R. KUMARAMANGALAM: Shall I request you to yield for a minute?

SHRI BASU DEB ACHARIA (BANKURA): Why not?

SHRI P.R. KUMARAMANGALAM : Mr. Deputy-Speaker, Sir, there is small problem here. Firstly, if correspondences between the Speaker, the Office of the Secretariat and the Government are to be referred, I would like to know whether it is referable on the floor of the House. Secondly, if it is to be referred to, then the whole communication must be referred, not parts. ... (Interruptions)

SHRI BASU DEB ACHARIA : You can inform the Speaker but you cannot inform the House the exact position in regard to the subject matter which is under discussion. ... (Interruptions)

SHRI P.R. KUMARAMANGALAM: That is not fair. Sir, it is a matter of rule. I would like to know whether it is possible. I have no problem. I will explain the question.

But then he must read the whole paragraph. He cannot read the parts and portions to his sweetwill.

MR. DEPUTY-SPEAKER: You are referring to what note? Shri Basu Deb Acharia, what is it you are referring to?

SHRI BASU DEB ACHARIA : It is a note given by the Minister to the Speaker.

MR. DEPUTY-SPEAKER: I am asking you this. What is it you are reading? Is it a statement?

SHRI BASU DEB ACHARIA : The note given by the Minister to the Speaker.

MR. DEPUTY-SPEAKER: He has given a note.

SHRI BASU DEB ACHARIA : I have quoted from the note given by the Minister to the Speaker.

MR. DEPUTY-SPEAKER: Shri Basu Deb Acharia, when you refer it, you refer it fully.

SHRI P.R. KUMARAMANGALAM: You can quote it. I have no objection. If you quote it, you quote it fully and place it on the Table of the House.

SHRI BASU DEB ACHARIA : I can authenticate it. Why should there be a difference?

SHRI P.R. KUMARAMANGALAM: The point is not that. The point is normally (Interruptions)

SHRI BASU DEB ACHARIA : The information is with the hon. Speaker. I have no objection. But he should also share the same information with the House also. The Members have a right to know. (Interruptions)

MR. DEPUTY-SPEAKER: Shri Basu Deb Acharia, you please hear me. Are you referring to the statement or the information provided by the hon. Minister to the Speaker?

SHRI BASU DEB ACHARIA : I am referring to the information provided by the hon. Minister to the Speaker.

MR. DEPUTY-SPEAKER: What the hon. Minister's objection is that if you are referring to it, you refer to it fully. Am I correct?

SHRI P.R. KUMARAMANGALAM: The question is this. Can he refer it? I want a ruling. .. (Interruptions) I will face it. There is a procedure.

SHRI BASU DEB ACHARIA : I have referred to the relevant portion of the note.

SHRI P.R. KUMARAMANGALAM: Can I submit? Mr. Deputy-Speaker, Sir, I would like a ruling whether he can refer to this communication. If he can, I have no problem because I have been in Parliament reasonably long enough and I have looked after this particular arena. So, I know what I am asking. I would like a ruling whether he can refer to it and if he can, then, let him place the whole document to the Table of the House.

SHRI SOMNATH CHATTERJEE : Generally, he can.

SHRI P.R. KUMARAMANGALAM: I have no objection.

SHRI BASU DEB ACHARIA : I have referred to the relevant portion of the note given by the Minister to the hon. Speaker. My question is, if the information can be shared with the hon. Speaker, why cannot the same be shared with the House? (Interruptions)

SHRI P.R. KUMARAMANGALAM: What is this? Sir, I want a ruling. Mr. Deputy-Speaker, Sir, I think the House seems to think that the discussion is going on without your ruling. I want a ruling.

MR. DEPUTY-SPEAKER: He has raised something which is a very relevant point.

SHRI SOMNATH CHATTERJEE : Did he have the right or not?

SHRI P.R. KUMARAMANGALAM: I am not denying that. I am just saying how much is . (Interruptions)

SHRI SONTOSH MOHAN DEV (SILCHAR): It is a paper signed by the hon. Minister to the Speaker which he is quoting it. Now, he will authenticate and lay it in the House.

SHRI P.R. KUMARAMANGALAM: I am willing to authenticate it for him. That is not the issue here.

SHRI SONTOSH MOHAN DEV : Then what is the issue?

SHRI P.R. KUMARAMANGALAM: The issue is, can he quote it?

SHRI SONTOSH MOHAN DEV : You cannot deprive him of that paper which you have given to the Speaker.

SHRI P.R. KUMARAMANGALAM: I am not denying that. Today fortunately it is something which is of use to me, but tomorrow... (Interruptions)

SHRI SONTOSH MOHAN DEV : Will it be abused?

SHRI P.R. KUMARAMANGALAM: Yes, I want the whole thing to be put on record and use it.(Interruptions)

SHRI BASU DEB ACHARIA : It is not abused but it is used here. (Interruptions)

SHRI SOMNATH CHATTERJEE : He can authenticate it.

SHRI S. JAIPAL REDDY : The rule permits the Member to produce any document provided the Member can authenticate it. Here is a Member who will authenticate document. Shri Mavalankar said that a Member can produce any document so long as he is prepared to lay and authenticate it. ...(Interruptions)

SHRI SOMNATH CHATTERJEE : The source of obtaining the document cannot be gone into so long as the document is genuine.

SHRI P.R. KUMARAMANGALAM: No, he has officially given it.

SHRI SOMNATH CHATTERJEE : If he has officially given it, then (Interruptions)

MR. DEPUTY-SPEAKER: Let me give my observation.

... (Interruptions)

SHRI S. BANGARAPPA (SHIMOGA): I would like to make one submission. Since the hon. Minister has agreed for giving him power to make a reference to your document, that has gone on between yourself and also the Speaker on the other side, and since he has no objection, then the only question is can the Speaker give his assent or not? I am requesting you to please give your consent, to the benefit of the entire House. Let him make a reference. Since he has no objection for the reference being made to that correspondence, what is wrong with that?

b. Pִƶ |ɺn ʺƽ (ɱ) : ={vI ɽn, xxҪ n E +vEɮ E E EMVi ƺ n Ei * =xɺ + <xx xɽ {U Ei*

... (ɴvx)

Eɱ +lx]E] EM

... (ɴvx)

ɽ +vEɮ {ڴE E E ɽ ɤ i EMVi * +{ <xE xɽ E Ei*

SHRI P.R. KUMARAMANGALAM: I am sure you cannot quote it.

MR. DEPUTY-SPEAKER: May I give my observation? Any matter by any Member can be produced here. The only thing is he has to authenticate it. Now, you have to authenticate it.

SHRI BASU DEB ACHARIA : I will authenticate it and lay it on the Table of the House. There is no problem for me.

My question is this: "Why is there difference"? When the information can be shared with the hon. Speaker, why the same information cannot be shared with the Members of this House? It has not been shared with us. But he has stated that there are various options like one, two, three, four or five. But outside the House, he is making statements on a particular subject. I quote different headlines which appeared in the newspapers on the subject:

1. "NTPC may get benefits for buying out NHPC" -Press Trust of India.

2. "NHPC prepared counter-offer to buy NTPC" - Indian Express.

3. "NTPC-NHPC equity proposal in preliminary stage" - Indian Express.

4. "Opposition trains guns on government for proposal on NHPC sale"- The Hindustan Times.

5. "Move against NHPC sale, hiving off NTPC's assets gains momentum." - The Economic Times.

6. "FIIs' consent essential for NHPC-NTPC deal" - Financial Express.

7. "Rs. 8,000 crore from securitisation to help NTPC pay for NHPC takeover." - The Economic Times.

8. "Power utilities to clear merger by January - NTPC likely to be renamed."

9. "Ministry moves for Cabinet nod on NTPC-NHPC deal by December."

In a number of newspapers only one option is mentioned. Why is it that no other option is mentioned? Here, he has stated a number of options like higher plan allocation, etc. No Press, no newspaper ever came to know of this. Then, on the levy of cess on power, why there is only one option, particularly, when NTPC has appointed ICICI - a financial institution- to examine as to how many options are there. I want to know whether it is only one option, the last one, financial engineering like acquisition, amalgamation/merger of disinvestment or other options also are there. What are the terms of references? Why did the Ministry of Power feel that ICICI should be appointed to examine this aspect? When did the Ministry of Power feel or think that a financial institution should be appointed to examine this aspect?

Sir, both these public sector undertakings were set up in the same year 1975 and both are Schedule `A' public sector undertakings. All through these years both NHPC and NTPC are earning profits and they were not loss-making companies and they were paying dividend to the Government of India. Only last year, in 1998, the Government of India announced a policy on hydro...(Interruptions).

MR. DEPUTY-SPEAKER: Shri Acharia, you are referring to the note. The Secretariat have no information about such a note. You have to authenticate the note which you are quoting.

SHRI BASU DEB ACHARIA : Yes, Sir.

SHRI S. JAIPAL REDDY : Sir, when Shri Acharia was quoting from that note, our hon. Minister was generous enough to admit to the authenticity of that note. (Interruptions). Please go through the record. (Interruptions). SHRI SOMNATH CHATTERJEE : If I am wrong, please correct me. The hon. Minister wanted Shri Acharia to read the whole note. Therefore, he is not disputing the note. Therefore, you both jointly authenticate.

MR. DEPUTY-SPEAKER: I am informed that the Secretariat has no information about this note and, therefore, I have, in general, made the observation that any document which is referred to here, must be authenticated by the hon. Member. So, accordingly I asked Shri Basu Deb Acharia to authenticate that note.

SHRI P.R. KUMARAMANGALAM: Sir, in this particular case, it does not matter. But it is highly improper for communications that go on with the Speaker, between the Government and the Members to be referred to by another Member in the House, it is normally not etiquette...(Interruptions)

SHRI SOMNATH CHATTERJEE : What is not etiquette...(Interruptions)

SHRI BASU DEB ACHARIA : Is it a secret document?...(Interruptions)

SHRI S. JAIPAL REDDY : Mr. Deputy-Speaker, Sir, in the instant case, there is no need for authentication because the Minister has generously come forward to confirm it.

MR. DEPUTY-SPEAKER: Whatever it may be, I have given my ruling. Let him conclude now.

SHRI BASU DEB ACHARIA : Sir, I shall authenticate it.

MR. DEPUTY-SPEAKER: Now form your question please.

... (Interruptions)

MR. DEPUTY-SPEAKER: What is this cross-talk going on?

SHRI S. JAIPAL REDDY : They are speaking in Bengali, Sir.

SHRI BASU DEB ACHARIA : Sir, only last year the Government of India announced a policy on hydro power. I was in the Standing Committee on Energy and also in the Sub-Committee on Power. I have gone through a number of papers. We were examining hydro electricity, the harnessing and the potentiality in our country, but I have not seen anywhere the Government of India or the Ministry of Power suggesting merger or converting NHPC as a subsidiary of NTPC. But now he is making a statement. Sir, you will be surprised to know that he has stated on the floor of the House that it is only at the conceptual stage and the Government has not taken any decision yet.

SHRI SOMNATH CHATTERJEE : They are waiting for this Call Attention to be over.

SHRI BASU DEB ACHARIA : The Chairman-cum-Managing Director of the NHPC has been asked to release a Press statement. What has he stated? He has stated: " In order to mobilise resources for hydel development, a proposal is under consideration for disinvestment" disinvestment not merger, Dr. Sengupta.

DR. NITISH SENGUPTA (CONTAI): It is merger.

SHRI BASU DEB ACHARIA : No, it is not merger...(Interruptions)

MR. DEPUTY-SPEAKER: No cross-talk please, Shri Basu Deb Acharia.

SHRI BASU DEB ACHARIA : Sir, Dr. Sengupta was telling Shri Somnath Chatterjee that it is merger and it is a very simple thing. He has further stated that "NTPC would purchase Government shares in NHPC. The Government has not taken any decision but the CMD of NHPC is making a statement very categorically that NTPC would purchase Government shares in NHPC. While achieving the objective of disinvestment, the leveraging capacity of NTPC will be utilised for promoting hydel project. We have been informed by the Government that the management of NHPC will not be disturbed due to this proposal at the outset itself."

May I know one thing from the hon. Minister? When this issue has been referred to ICICI and the decision of the ICICI is still awaited as per the hon. Minister's statement, then how could the Chairman-cum-Managing Director of the NHPC make such a statement? There are various options. It is not the only one option, the option of merger, but there are other options also.

SHRI SOMNATH CHATTERJEE : Options for hoodwinking.

SHRI BASU DEB ACHARIA : There are no other options. There is only one objective and that is to sell the entire share of NHPC to the NTPC Both the NHPC and NTPC which are public sector undertakings, were not aware of this decision of the Government, rather they were against it initially. Both the PSUs were against this. Neither the NHPC wanted it nor the NTPC wanted it, rather they were forced to accept this proposal. The only motive behind this is not what has been elaborately stated by the hon. Minister. We know it. We are all aware of the power situation in the country. We know what is the peaking gap and what is non-peaking gap. We know everything. We know what is the capacity generated by our Independent Power Producers (IPP). They could achieve only 50 per cent of the target. Our hon. friend, Shri S. Jaipal Reddy has mentioned about the generation cost, production cost of the power plants set up by IPPs So many other things are there.

MR. DEPUTY-SPEAKER : Please come to the question.

SHRI BASU DEB ACHARIA : The main intention is to bridge the fiscal deficit and to get Rs. 4,500 crore but not to strengthen either the NTPC or the NHPC. I know it. I have visited a number of power plants set up by NHPC. I know in what difficult situations they are to work in border areas like Uri, Dulhasti, Loktak etc. They have to work in adverse law and order situation. They have done a commendable job within 3-4 years.

I know that the gestation period is much more for hydel. In the North-Eastern States we have the potentiality for hydel power of 66,000 m.w. We are utilising only two per cent or three per cent of it. He has referred to mismatch of the ratio of hydel and thermal. We know it. In 1963, it was 45 per cent and 55 per cent; and now it has come down to 24 per cent and 76 per cent. He is saying that there is no money. ...(Interruptions) The face value of the fund that is going to come out of the sale proceeds of this distress sale will be Rs. 4,500 crore. My question is that when the ICICI has not given any recommendation or any report, how can the Government of India come to the conclusion that its face value will be Rs. 4,500 crore? What is the total value of the assets?

SHRI TARIT BARAN TOPDAR (BARRACKPORE): It is Rs.40,000 crore.

SHRI BASU DEB ACHARIA : No. The total value of the assets of NHPC is Rs. 20,000 crore, not Rs. 40,000 crore.

SHRI SOMNATH CHATTERJEE :For what purpose? ...(Interruptions)

SHRI BASU DEB ACHARIA : Sir, another intention of the Government behind this is to convert NTPC into a conduit for private entrepreneurs to hive off some of the funds....(Interruptions)

15.00 hrs

SHRI P.R. KUMARAMANGALAM: Are you suggesting it?

SHRI BASU DEB ACHARIA : No, I am not suggesting it. I am against hiving off of some of the units to the private entrepreneurs like Ambanis, Mittals and Hindujas. ...(Interruptions) I want to know from the hon. Minister the rationale behind taking such a decision or behind this proposal if the decision has not yet been taken by the Government of India and it is still at the conceptual stage. The United Front Government had rejected this proposal when brought before it.

MR. DEPUTY-SPEAKER: Calling Attention takes one hour.

SHRI BASU DEB ACHARIA : This is very important. We are only two Members who have tabled this Calling Attention. ....(Interruptions)

MR. DEPUTY-SPEAKER: It is very important. That is why, the Calling Attention was allowed.

... (Interruptions)

SHRI BASU DEB ACHARIA : The United Front Government had rejected this proposal. ....(Interruptions) Sir, I have never seen any issue on which all the Press, media and almost all the political parties are against it. Except the BJP, almost all the political parties, the entire Opposition - I do not know the views of the allies of the BJP - are against this move of merger or disinvestment in the name of merger of the Government of India. They want to disinvest. They want to privatise. I have not seen any issue which is opposed by the entire Press. We have seen the reaction of the Press. We have seen the reaction of the Opposition, of the political parties.


[NEXT PAGE]