Sir, all the trade unions, associations of workers and officers are opposing this move of the Government. I have not seen it before. So, the Government should desist from taking such a hasty decision which is not in the interest of the nation and the power sector of our country. Thank you.
MR. DEPUTY-SPEAKER: Mr. Minister.
SHRI SUDIP BANDYOPADHYAY (CALCUTTA NORTH WEST): Sir, Shri Sengupta's name was referred to during the deliberations. He can just explain for a minute.
MR. DEPUTY-SPEAKER: You know Shri Bandyopadhyay that in the case of Calling Attention, I am bound by the rules not to allow anyone other than the Member whose name is there in the list.
SHRI P.R. KUMARAMANGALAM: He wants to give a personal explanation. ... (Interruptions)
SHRI ANIL BASU (ARAMBAGH): Sir, interruptions are allowed. ....(Interruptions)
SHRI SUDIP BANDYOPADHYAY : Sir, if a reference is made to another Member by an hon. Member, he should be allowed to explain his position. ....(Interruptions)
MR. DEPUTY-SPEAKER: If the House pleads for that, I will ask you to straightway ask a question only and there will not be any precedent. That will be a special case, an exceptional case and will not form a precedent to this rule.
MR. DEPUTY-SPEAKER: He has agreed for it.
DR. NITISH SENGUPTA : The point is that since ICICI has been appointed to suggest the modalities, I suppose, the decision will be taken after that, and the whole thing is in the drawing-board now.
SHRI SOMNATH CHATTERJEE : Since it is a private question, a private answer will be given.
SHRI P.R. KUMARAMANGALAM : Sir, I am grateful for all the compliments that a few senior hon. Members have been so kind enough to give. Though sometimes, some of it bordered, if I may say, on not a very savoury terminology, I still accept the compliments.
SHRI SOMNATH CHATTERJEE : There is nothing personal in it. Do not take anything personally.
SHRI P.R. KUMARAMANGALAM: But I may say that what is necessary for them is to have more information. I would have given even more information. I did give a lot of information in the annexures with the statement.
Firstly, at the outset, with regard to the letter that has been now referred to, which I understand is not normally referred to, let me say that I have made it very clear in the opening paragraph to the Speaker that the subject matter of the Calling Attention Notice is at the preliminary stage of consideration, which meant that we have not taken a decision. I said to the Speaker then that the same words "preliminary stage of consideration" can also be put as "conceptual". I do not think that there is any clash on this.
SHRI BASU DEB ACHARIA : We wanted to raise this issue because the Government should not take such a decision.
SHRI P.R. KUMARAMANGALAM: I am very grateful to you. You have got your viewpoint across. The objective behind the reference that the NTPC had made was to undertake an exercise to raise resources for further deployment in the power sector with emphasis in the hydro sector. That is a clear reference which has been given. All these other options which I have given to you is what we picked up from ICICI and others, when we had a presentation from them in the initial stage of consideration. These options were given one by one. When the Press people addressed this question to me as to how we are going to find the resources for this large problem that we are facing, I have said that one of the options was this, the other option was this and the remaining options were these, which the ICICI was considering.
SHRI BASU DEB ACHARIA : They have quoted only one option.
SHRI P.R. KUMARAMANGALAM: No, you yourself have read out the second option, and you yourself have read out an article which said that this was preliminary. Let us be frank. Please do not make all papers "Ganashakthi".
SHRI SOMNATH CHATTERJEE : If it is "Ganashakthi", then there is no question of its authenticity.
SHRI P.R. KUMARAMANGALAM: I would have accepted its authenticity if you had written it.
SHRI SOMNATH CHATTERJEE : Then it should be fully authentic.
SHRI BASU DEB ACHARIA (BANKURA): I have not quoted from "Ganashakthi".
SHRI P.R. KUMARAMANGALAM: But I would only like to say this much, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, Sir. Some of the figures were very clear. The equity of NTPC is Rs. 7,700 crore, and the equity of NHPC is only Rs. 3,825 crore. The assets of NTPC are Rs. 30,000 crore. This is the book value of the assets. Today, the assets would be anywhere around Rs. 60,000 crore in market value. NHPC's assets are only Rs. 10,000 crore, and its book value does not go beyond Rs. 15,000 crore. The outstanding loan in terms of NTPC is Rs. 9,000 crore; the outstanding loan in terms of NHPC is Rs. 5,000 crore. The reserves of NTPC are not Rs. 2,500 crore, but it is Rs. 12,000 crore; the reserves of NHPC are Rs. 1,272 crore.
SHRI S. JAIPAL REDDY : How are you calculating the reserves? Do they include Power Bonds?
SHRI P.R. KUMARAMANGALAM: Yes because they are profits. I can sell them. I can keep my reserves as Treasury Bonds, I can keep my reserves in a bank account, I can keep my reserves as a Power Bond. How I keep the money is irrelevant. This money is encashable.
SHRI S. JAIPAL REDDY : When you want to sell away your Power Bonds, then you will have to sell them at discounted value. It is not the same as hard cash.
SHRI P.R. KUMARAMANGALAM: No, it is not the Government, but the NTPC which can sell it. ... (Interruptions) When he is referring to you, I referred to that. I stand corrected, Sir. I said that I am only in reference to you. The point is that NTPC can keep its reserves in various forms. It has reserves of Rs. 12,000 crore. Let us make it clear that it is not Rs. 2,500 crore. NTPC has had a profit of Rs. 2,815 crore last year.
Sir, the NHPC has a profit of Rs. 305 crore. Let us get the figures clear. Do not start saying that NHPC had so much and NTPC had so much, otherwise I would have problems later on. If I may submit, I think, what is important to understand is one particular option has been taken out of turn and out of context and raised. It is an option under consideration. When the ICICI gives its report, we would take this into consideration. The Chairman and the Managing Director of NHPC were present when the presentation was made. It is wrong to say that the Public Sector Chiefs did not know about this at all. On the contrary, myself, the officials of the Ministry and the representatives of the Public Sector Corporation were together when ICICI made its presentation. They said that these are the various options that they were considering. In fact, consent from both of them were taken ... (Interruptions)
SHRI S. JAIPAL REDDY : Mr. Minister, please hear me now ... (Interruptions)
SHRI P.R. KUMARAMANGALAM: Let me finsih. I have not yielded ... (Interruptions)
SHRI S. JAIPAL REDDY : First the statement was made and then the chiefs of the NHPC and NTPC were made to fall in line ... (Interruptions) we can quote ... (Interruptions)
MR. DEPUTY-SPEAKER: Nothing will go on record.
MR. DEPUTY-SPEAKER: He has already said about it. You may not agree with him.
SHRI P.R. KUMARAMANGALAM: Sir, I am sorry, I strongly object to this. I have not yielded ... (Interruptions)
SHRI S. JAIPAL REDDY : Sir, there could be disagreement in regard to the formulation but there cannot be any disagreement in regard to facts ... (Interruptions)
SHRI P.R. KUMARAMANGALAM: Sir, I am willing to face privilege. Is my friend willing to face the same? Is he going to stand by fact which he is saying? He is calling me a person who is misleading the House. I am willing to say on record, if necessary, under oath. Is my friend willing to say the same? What is this happening? Anytime you can always tell a Minister that you are misleading the House ... (Interruptions) We had a meeting of the officials, and the Chairman of the PSU ... (Interruptions)
SHRI BASU DEB ACHARIA : Please do not lose your temper ... (Interruptions)
MR. DEPUTY-SPEAKER: Shri Acharia, he has stated the stand of the Government. You may not agree with it. He is not yielding.
MR. DEPUTY-SPEAKER: It is not a cross-examination session. He has stated whatever he had to say. You may not agree with him.
SHRI BASU DEB ACHARIA : When did you have the meeting? ... (Interruptions)
* Not Recorded.
MR. DEPUTY-SPEAKER: No. He is not yielding.
SHRI S. JAIPAL REDDY : When did you have the meeting? ... (Interruptions)
MR. DEPUTY-SPEAKER: Shri Reddy, he is not yielding.
SHRI P.R. KUMARAMANGALAM: Sir, on the fact I am being told that I am misleading the House. That is why, I said -- I am a responsible Minister, standing in this House -- that the meeting took place well before anything came out in the Press. We had a meeting; we had a presentation by the ICICI in which both the Chairmen, myself, the officials of the Ministry were present. The Minister of State for Power came a little later and joined the meeting. We saw the presentation and told the ICICI that you please go ahead and give your report and final recommendations. We can take a decision on that.
Sir, what has come in the Press is in response to questions that the members of the business community posed to me during various business seminars where options were discussed. If you say this, then this does not mean that we have taken any pre-conceived decision but definitely the option which has been referred to in this Calling Attention Motion is a serious option.
Sir, that is all I wish to say. I would like to thank all the Members. SHRI BASU DEB ACHARIA : Sir, he has not replied to our specific question as to what is the rationality behind taking this decision ... (Interruptions)
MR. DEPUTY-SPEAKER: He has given the reply. It may not be up to your satisfaction.
SHRI BASU DEB ACHARIA : No, he has not replied to our specific question ... (Interruptions)
MR. DEPUTY-SPEAKER: I cannot insist on that.
SHRI SOMNATH CHATTERJEE : Sir, the hon. Speaker has admitted this motion ... (Interruptions)
SHRI BASU DEB ACHARIA : He has evaded the question ... (Interruptions)
SHRI P.R. KUMARAMANGALAM: Sir, I would like to make it clar. I have spent given a lengthy statement stating the power situation and why we need to improve the hydel power. I need resources for over 1,76,000 MW to be added. If that is not an explanation for consideration, then I do not know what else that is ... (Interruptions)
SHRI BASU DEB ACHARIA (BANKURA): You want to sell our power sector ... (Interruptions)
SHRI SOMNATH CHATTERJEE : Sir, it is a very important subject. I am sure, the hon. Minister does not dispute the importance of the subject.
He has said that there was no final decision on what has been alleged and that it is one of the matters which has been discussed. Sir, certain pertinent questions were raised. There may be several options. Why this option has also been included and how does the country benefit by it is an issue on which no response has come from the Minister.
MR. DEPUTY-SPEAKER: The Minister has already said what he wanted to say.
SHRI SOMNATH CHATTERJEE : No, Sir, he has not said as to what the justification for this measure is. He has only said that this also can be done.
MR. DEPUTY-SPEAKER: It is all over now.
SHRI BASU DEB ACHARIA : The Minister has evaded answering our question.
SHRI SOMNATH CHATTERJEE : I am sorry, Sir, in spite of my affection to the Minister, I have to register our protest by walking out.
(At this stage, Shri Somnath Chatterjee and some other
hon. Members left the House.)