In a season of trading allegations between the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party in Gujarat, the opposition party has now turned to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi government's blue chip company Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation alleging huge irregularities to benefit a company engaged in pipeline manufacturing in Kutch.
Leader of the opposition Shaktisinh Gohil alleged that Gujarat State Petronet Limited, a subsidiary of GSPC, is rigging the bidding process to help one Kutch-based pipeline manufacturing firm get the entire contract of supply of pipelines for the project.
The Gujarat government-promoted GSPL had bagged three cross-country gas pipeline projects -- Mehsana-Bhatinda (1,611 km), Bhatinda-Srinagar (740 km), and Mallavaram-Bhopal-Bhilwara-Vijaipur (1,738 km).
GSPL holds 52 per cent stake, while other JV partners such as Indian Oil Corporation Ltd 26 per cent and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited each has 11 per cent stake holding in the project, which will pass through around 10 states to create a gas supply grid in the country.
These three projects are worth over Rs 13,000 crore.
"The Modi government and its officials involved in the projects are rigging the bidding process in such a manner to help the company get the entire pipeline supply contract. Pipelines worth more than Rs 4,000 crore are to be procured for the projects," Gujarat leader of the opposition Shaktisinh Gohil said, alleging complete lack of transparency in the execution of the projects.
"I have also learnt that the pipeline company has promised multimillion rupees of funds to the ruling party for Gujarat assembly polls in return of the favour in the form of selecting its pipelines," Gohil claimed.
He added, "The chief minister has double standards. He can lecture everybody on transparency and propriety but when it comes to practicing it, he does not find such qualities as desirable virtues."
Asking the government to allow competition and transparency in the bidding process, Gohil said that without competition, a single company's dominance will create its monopoly in the system.
Gohil also reminded Modi that in 2005, he had announced that GSPC had found gas reserves of 20 TCF in KG basin off Andhra Pradesh coast.
"After spending Rs 8,000 crore in exploration in KG basin and elsewhere, not even one standard cubic feet gas has been produced by the GSPC."
According to Gohil, the GSPC has emerged as the epicenter of corruption in the current regime in the state.