9 PSUs spent Rs 15 crore on events to mark Modi govt’s three years: Report
The report cited PSUs in the petroleum and natural gas and power sectors agreed the expense of the events put a strain on their event budget allocations but said that “getting a foothold in Gujarat is incentive enough”.business Updated: Jun 20, 2017 12:51 IST
Nine state-owned companies spent Rs 15 crore to organise 30 events in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state of Gujarat to celebrate the three years of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance storming to power at the Centre, the Indian Express said on Tuesday.
Out of the 30 programmes in Gujarat, 18 were hosted by public-sector undertakings (PSUs) in the petroleum and natural gas sector and four in power, the newspaper reported. It said some PSUs even spent up to Rs 50 lakh per event held across the state and presided over by Union ministers Prakash Javdekar, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Smriti Irani, Mansukh Mandaviya and JP Nadda.
The Express said the PSUs in the petroleum and natural gas and power sectors agreed the expense of the events, which began on May 26 and ended on Sunday, put a strain on their event budget allocations but said that “getting a foothold in Gujarat is incentive enough”.
It cited official estimates that said each PSU that floated tenders for the event management opened the bid at Rs 45 lakh. And, an official told the newspaper it included the “cost of printing brochures, standees, backdrop and other promotional material, commissioning a video of the PSU based on the theme of Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas to be played at the venue, rent, refreshments, electricity, and other logistical expenses”.
Rajendra Kumar Bhati, director of National Highways Authority of India’s Project Implementation Unit in Gir Somnath, said they Rs 50 lakh for an event in Veraval presided over by Irani. “Our headquarters had approved it and we shall credit the expenditure under the head directed by our headquarters,” Bhati told the Express.
An Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) official said the Centre asked them to follow a “Standard Operation Procedure (SOP)” regarding banners, standees, posters and videos that were to be played at the venue were given in advance “so that there was no discrepancy”.
“We were told to find a suitable venue, indoors or outdoors, to hold about 2500 people. Every PSU was asked to display their logo and put up standees of achievement and also play a 3-5 minute video highlighting the achievements of the PSU of three years towards the vision of Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas,” the official said.
Most PSUs said they saw their association with the central government’s celebration as an opportunity for image building and that the events “give us a platform to network”.
“We know that since we often go in for land acquisitions to build airports, people who lose their lands are not happy and they have a negative view about AAI. The event allowed us to showcase our own work through CSR and other activities. It was more an outreach programme,” KL Sharma, Airports Authority of India regional executive director (western region), was quoted as saying.
It said some PSUs such as the Tehri HDC India Limited (THDCIL), which held the SSSV event at Patan on June 7 with Hari Chaudhary, minister of state for the ministry of micro, small and medium Enterprises as the chief guest, have said they hosted the events for “outreach” in Gujarat.
The newspaper cited an unnamed official as saying that the undertaking rented plush Utsav Party Plot at Chanasma Road in Patan for the event attended by about 2000 people.
Officials of ONGC, responsible for six SSSV events in Gujarat — Gandhinagar district, Junagadh, Kheda, Navsari, Sabarkantha, and Narmada — said associating with “rare” government events such as the SSSV “help build a rapport with the state administrative wing”.
“This kind of an event helps us build our own brand image and network with the administrative wing that would otherwise be unknown to us. When we organise such events from the scratch, it acquaints us with some officers who can help us in our own operation,” an ONGC official told the Express.