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Central scheme norms flouted with impunity

By The Assam Tribune
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GUWAHATI, Feb 25 � The Bamboo Technology Park (BTP) at Chaygaon, approved under the Industrial Infrastructure Upgradation Scheme (IIUS-Recasted 2009) as a �Green Field Project� by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry following a proposal submitted by the Assam Government, has violated every single guideline of the IIUS to siphon off huge amounts of taxpayers� money

Informing this, the Guwahati-based Consortium foe Vigilance Against Corruption (CONVAC) said 'the IIUS is only meant for existing cluster of units in a particular geographical area (brown field) and as such the very proposal of the Assam Government to benefit from the scheme is a farce.'

Of the approved project cost of Rs 62.28 cr, grants under IIUS was Rs 52.63 cr (84.50%), the balance Rs 3.90 cr (6.27%) was to be raised by industry contribution and Rs 5.75 cr (9.23%) was to be the contribution/term loan by the State Government. Upon approval, following the reverse process, the Assam Industry Department gathered some entrepreneurs and formed a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to be in sync with the IIUS guidelines and launched the company (BTP) to implement the project, the CONVAC said

A sum of Rs 2.93 cr was raised as industry contribution through newly selected private stakeholders i.e. Premier Cryogenics Ltd., Guwahati (Rs 82 lakh), Assam Industrial Development Corporation Ltd., Guwahati (Rs 76 lakh), Mayur Ply Industries (P) Ltd., Kolkata (Rs 76 lakh), Ruhini Plywood (P) Ltd., Kolkata (Rs 29 lakh), Derby Commodities (P) Ltd., Kolkata (Rs 15 lakh) and Diamond Timber Industries, Changsari (Rs 15 lakh), it said.

�To meet the shortfall of Rs 0.97 cr from industry contribution and the balance amount of Rs. 5.75 cr to be raised as Term Loam from Assam Government, manipulations were on to avail the entire above amount from the Industry Department, Government of Assam, in connivance with the then State Industry Minister through the influence of some of the stakeholder private parties and as learnt from industry department sources, the Government of Assam is already considering to release the amount as grant', the CONVAC said, adding, self-centric decisions were taken by the SPV committee in procuring machineries and equipment at much higher rates and floating (domestic and global) inflated tenders as eye wash to siphon off their investments under table as under Section 25 of the Companies Act the investors cannot have access to the profits for recovery of their investments.�

A bamboo stick making machine, for example, sold at Rs. 1.80 lakh by a local manufacturer was procured (12 nos.) by the park at a hefty amount of over Rs five lakh each, with lame excuses like warranty for three years including maintenance. Likewise, some of the heavy bamboo processing machineries were imported from China at much inflated rates, it said.

Though the ambitious project was approved by DIPP for the benefit of over 8000 villagers, especially the most under-privileged including the women in and around Chaygaon engaged in harvesting, pre-processing and manufacturing of bamboo products, the present design of the BTP directly benefits hardly 200 persons. The handiwork of a few influential businessmen � mostly from outside the state and who do not possess any bamboo processing units, in clear violation of IIUS � are trying their best to convert the BTP into a white elephant, the CONVAC said

The CONVAC has urged upon the concerned authorities to conduct a thorough probe into the affairs of the BTP before facilitating its hand over to a State Government agency like the AIDC, instead of allowing 'a few businessmen with their selfish motives and unhealthy attitude towards the people of Assam.'

The state government, henceforth, should be very cautious while selecting a project as a beneficiary under IIUS, especially for the fact that there are natural industries like the silk weaving units in Sualkuchi, the brass/bell metal units in Sarthebari, among others in natural cluster forms requiring urgent infrastructure and allied up-gradation to world class standards to be self-reliant and sustainable so that their products fetch competitive prices in the global market, the CONVAC added.

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Central scheme norms flouted with impunity

GUWAHATI, Feb 25 � The Bamboo Technology Park (BTP) at Chaygaon, approved under the Industrial Infrastructure Upgradation Scheme (IIUS-Recasted 2009) as a �Green Field Project� by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry following a proposal submitted by the Assam Government, has violated every single guideline of the IIUS to siphon off huge amounts of taxpayers� money

Informing this, the Guwahati-based Consortium foe Vigilance Against Corruption (CONVAC) said 'the IIUS is only meant for existing cluster of units in a particular geographical area (brown field) and as such the very proposal of the Assam Government to benefit from the scheme is a farce.'

Of the approved project cost of Rs 62.28 cr, grants under IIUS was Rs 52.63 cr (84.50%), the balance Rs 3.90 cr (6.27%) was to be raised by industry contribution and Rs 5.75 cr (9.23%) was to be the contribution/term loan by the State Government. Upon approval, following the reverse process, the Assam Industry Department gathered some entrepreneurs and formed a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to be in sync with the IIUS guidelines and launched the company (BTP) to implement the project, the CONVAC said

A sum of Rs 2.93 cr was raised as industry contribution through newly selected private stakeholders i.e. Premier Cryogenics Ltd., Guwahati (Rs 82 lakh), Assam Industrial Development Corporation Ltd., Guwahati (Rs 76 lakh), Mayur Ply Industries (P) Ltd., Kolkata (Rs 76 lakh), Ruhini Plywood (P) Ltd., Kolkata (Rs 29 lakh), Derby Commodities (P) Ltd., Kolkata (Rs 15 lakh) and Diamond Timber Industries, Changsari (Rs 15 lakh), it said.

�To meet the shortfall of Rs 0.97 cr from industry contribution and the balance amount of Rs. 5.75 cr to be raised as Term Loam from Assam Government, manipulations were on to avail the entire above amount from the Industry Department, Government of Assam, in connivance with the then State Industry Minister through the influence of some of the stakeholder private parties and as learnt from industry department sources, the Government of Assam is already considering to release the amount as grant', the CONVAC said, adding, self-centric decisions were taken by the SPV committee in procuring machineries and equipment at much higher rates and floating (domestic and global) inflated tenders as eye wash to siphon off their investments under table as under Section 25 of the Companies Act the investors cannot have access to the profits for recovery of their investments.�

A bamboo stick making machine, for example, sold at Rs. 1.80 lakh by a local manufacturer was procured (12 nos.) by the park at a hefty amount of over Rs five lakh each, with lame excuses like warranty for three years including maintenance. Likewise, some of the heavy bamboo processing machineries were imported from China at much inflated rates, it said.

Though the ambitious project was approved by DIPP for the benefit of over 8000 villagers, especially the most under-privileged including the women in and around Chaygaon engaged in harvesting, pre-processing and manufacturing of bamboo products, the present design of the BTP directly benefits hardly 200 persons. The handiwork of a few influential businessmen � mostly from outside the state and who do not possess any bamboo processing units, in clear violation of IIUS � are trying their best to convert the BTP into a white elephant, the CONVAC said

The CONVAC has urged upon the concerned authorities to conduct a thorough probe into the affairs of the BTP before facilitating its hand over to a State Government agency like the AIDC, instead of allowing 'a few businessmen with their selfish motives and unhealthy attitude towards the people of Assam.'

The state government, henceforth, should be very cautious while selecting a project as a beneficiary under IIUS, especially for the fact that there are natural industries like the silk weaving units in Sualkuchi, the brass/bell metal units in Sarthebari, among others in natural cluster forms requiring urgent infrastructure and allied up-gradation to world class standards to be self-reliant and sustainable so that their products fetch competitive prices in the global market, the CONVAC added.