Speaker disallows debate on port scam

Last Updated: Wed, Dec 19, 2012 20:53 hrs

Following the recent indictment of the Odisha government by the Comptroller & Auditor General (CAG) of India on selection of port developers through the MoU (memorandum of understanding) route, the Opposition Congress has accused the government of scam of Rs 4 lakh crore in development of minor ports.

“This government is responsible for creating scam of Rs 4 lakh crore by selecting port developers through the MoU route instead of open bidding route,” Opposition chief whip Prasad Harichandan told the media.

This was after the assembly speaker Pradeep Amat turned down discussion on an adjournment motion on Irregularities in selection of port developers’ citing that the matter was sub-judice. Subrat Tarai, minister for commerce & transport had sought ruling from the speaker if the adjournment motion could be debated since the matter was pending in the Odisha High Court and the CAG report has not been examined by the Public Accounts Committee of the assembly.

BJD MLAs - Amar Prasad Satapathy and Ranendra Pratap Swain urged the speaker against allowing a discussion as the matter was sub judice.

The speaker’s ruling, however, did not satisfy Harichandan, who said that the issue was discussed in the house on April 8 last year despite the matter being sub-judice. He also argued that there was precedence of CAG reports being discussed in the House before being placed before PAC.

In its latest report, the CAG said that while the developer of the Gopalpur port was selected on the basis of competitive bidding process, the developers for other four PPP projects - Astaranga, Chudamani, Dhamra and Subarnarekha were entertained through MoU (memorandum of understanding) route based on suo-moto offers from these private companies.

The Central auditor pointed out that the Odisha government suffered a loss of Rs 159.96 crore due to deficiencies in concession agreements signed with developers of minor ports.

“Projects were largely awarded through MoU route based on single suo-moto offer instead of competitive bidding route which raised issues of arbitrariness, lack of competitiveness and optimal value for money. Due diligence exercise on the revenue model before award of each project to the private partners was largely non-existent,” said the CAG report.

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