- #India – More mines, fewer schools in former Maoist stronghold (kractivist.wordpress.com)
The appeal filed by NGO Adivasi Kisan Mazdoor Kisan Ekta Sanghatan and Jan Chetna had alleged that there were serious environmental flaws and the public hearing conducted in 2010 was an eyewash and repeated moves by JSPL to increase the land acquired for the each power unit is bad in law.
Senior advocate Raj Panjwani appearing on behalf of the NGO told the bench of justice AS Naidu and expert member Devendra Kumar Agarwal, “All construction work started at this project was much before they got due clearance from the ministry of environment concerned and all promises JSPL made for the future are always taken for granted.”
Citing the example of how the land demand of JSPL increased with every unit, Panjwani told the bench, “First they needed 614 hectares for 1000MW and then 1041 hectares for 2400MW. It seems that there are no norms for acquiring the land for JSPL.”
Taking note of the submissions made by Panjwani, the bench also questioned JSPL as to on what grounds land acquiring system changes from one project to other and remarked “How optimisation is taking place?”
On this senior advocate Pinaki Misra appearing for JSPL said, “We are adhering to all environmental rules and regulations and if still the tribunal thinks that we are flouting any rules, then we at our own cost is ready to get an environment assessment done.”
To a query by the bench on procurement of water for running the plant, Misra said, “We are currently fulfilling our needs from the Mahanadi river and is soon to laid down pipes over there for which we have filed an application in the environment ministry for due clearance.”
“You are already operating 2 units at the plant and still no permission has been taken in advance from the ministry. Are you speculating that you will get permission for what all you have been doing,” the bench remarked asking it to adhere to rules and regulations strictly.
The NGT has also directed all parties to file the written submissions if any by November 20.
While paid news is being discussed since the last election, for the first time we saw there is no wall between news reporting and sales, as Zee News’ editors Samir Ahluwalia and Sudhir Chaudhary are also business heads of the channel
The episode between Navin Jindal and Zee News is becoming murkier every day. Jindal, the Member of Parliament (MP) belonging to the Congress party and chairman and managing director of Jindal Steel and Power-part of the $15 billion diversified OP Jindal Group-had filed criminal extortion case against Zee News and Zee Business channel.
Following a formal complaint by Navin Jindal, the Broadcast Editors’ Association (BEA) suspended its treasurer Sudhir Chaudhary, who is also editor and business head of Zee News. Even the News Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA) headed by former chief justice of India JS Verma has said that it would inquire in to the complaint by Jindal. While both Zee and Jindal are sticking to their own stands, the entire episode raises more questions on the ethics of news reporting and business.
Jindal, in a dramatic press conference on Thursday, also released tapes showing the conversation between his team members and Zee News reporter, who allegedly asked for cash to stop the TV channels sting operation. “Media in our country has to be above suspicion. Media has played a crucial role in our country. Jindal Steel and Power has faced an incident on which I want to give a pure version. The way Zee TV has carried the news, it has become important for me to share,” the Congress MP said.
Earlier, Jindal had filed a first information report (FIR) against Subhash Chandra, chairman of Zee group, Punit Goenka, managing director of Zee, Sameer Ahluwalia and Sudhir Chaudhary, both editors and business heads of Zee Business channel. In the FIR, Jindal said that Ahluwalia and Chaudhary demanded “certain advertisement commitments” worth several crores of rupees (Rs100 crore, according to media reports) for not broadcasting a story about the Jindal group’s alleged involvement in the coal block allocations.
Jindal in the FIR said, “…the said three officials (Ravi Muthreja, head for corporate communications, Sushil Kumar Maroo, director and Vivek Mittal from Jindal) met with the aforesaid Sameer (Ahluwalia) and Sudhir (Chowdhary) at Polo Lounge of Hotel Hyatt Regency, New Delhi on 17 September 2012. In this meeting Sameer and Sudhir claimed that the deal amount will be Rs100 crore and not Rs20 crore as same was a communication error. They further said that if our company agreed to pay their company a total sum of Rs100 crore, they will not telecast any program concerning us and further they will improve/repair damage already caused to our company and its management due to the said programs.”
The complaint also blames Zee group’s head Subhash Chandra. It says, “Aforesaid Sameer and Sudhir further informed us that a vilification campaign against our company is under instruction, consent and full knowledge of aforesaid Subhash Chandra and other officials of their top management. They further informed that Subhash Chandra Goyal was fully aware of this. In fact this whole thing was his plan and each step had his concurrence”.
The Zee group, however, denied the allegations made by Jindal. According to a PTI report, Punit Goenka, managing director and chief executive, Zee Entertainment Enterprises has said, “This kind of allegation has happened in the past and may happen in the future. It doesn’t make any difference to us and we will stick to the truth. These are all pressure tactics.”
Zee News also alleged that Jindal misbehaved with a team of its reporters after they sought clarifications from him on the allegations levelled against his company for alleged irregularities in allocation of coal bocks.
This case highlights the effects of the diminishing wall between news reporting and sales and marketing. Renowned media critic Ken Auletta, while writing about Sameer Jain and Vineet Jain, the Times of India brothers, in The New Yorker has highlighted the question about news and paid news. (http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2012/10/08/121008fa_fact_auletta ). Auletta says, “India is one of the few places on earth where newspapers still thrive; in fact, circulation and advertising are rising. In part, this is because many Indian newspapers, following an approach pioneered by the Jain brothers, have been dismantling the wall between the newsroom and the sales department. At the Times of India, for example, celebrities and advertisers pay the paper to have its reporters write advertorials about their brands in its supplementary sections; the newspaper enters into private-treaty agreements with some advertisers, accepting equity in the advertisers’ firms as partial payment.”
Rajesh Tripathi from Jan Chetna in Raigarh is telling us that one
laborer died yesterday in Jindal power plant in Raigarh when a part of
the chimney fell on him. This is second death in a week and 3rd in
last 2 months. Govt had ordered work to be stopped on request from a
Govt company CMDC who said the plant is coming up on their land. Green
tribunal is also hearing the case. He demands a CBI enquiry on how
laborers are dying in a clsoed factory. For more Rajesh ji can be
reached at 09424183510
Listen to him click link below
Killed in a chopper crash in 2005, industrialist Om Prakash Jindal lives on in Raigarh, the heart of Chhattisgarh’s coal belt—not as Om Prakash, but ‘Omni Present’ Jindal. Visitors here are blitzed by O.P. Jindal’s name as also the green and saffron flag logo of Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL), which he founded in 1989. Now managed by his son and Congress MP Naveen Jindal, the firm has been on overdrive, stamping its mark across the city. It hasn’t gone uncontested, though.
Whether it is the bridge that JSPL built over the Kelo river, promptly naming it the O.P. Jindal Kelo Setu; the road that it constructed alongside the river called, in keeping with form, the
O.P. Jindal Marine Drive; or the controversial naming of a major city thoroughfare as O.P. Jindal road, none can escape the Jindal patriarch’s reach in the city. Arrivals at the local government hospital are treated in the O.P. Jindal OPD block and residents of the nearby Pathalgaon Bal Ashram received goodies like bags and cots with Jindal stickers on them. The locals here are incessantly reminded of the Jindals’ munificence.
“Naveen Jindal wants to transform Raigarh into Jindalgarh,” says Rajesh Tripathy, a local activist. Subscribers to this view point to how the firm encroached and installed O.P. Jindal’s statue at a public roundabout on the national highway near the city a few years ago without the necessary clearances and despite public opposition. “The National Highway Authority of India told us they had not been granted permission,” adds Tripathy. Finally, the statue was relocated in 2011 to another roundabout on a road that cuts through JSPL’s plant. Jindalgarh also happens to be the name the firm has chosen to confer on a colony of its employees on the fringes of the city.
The obsessive desire to leave a mark and vociferous attempts at claiming credit for every task carried out as part of its corporate social responsibility leave no one in doubt that the Jindals want to make Raigarh synonymous with Jindal. Ajay Athaley, a Raipur-based theatre artiste, says, “Why must they shout to say they have done this or that? The government should instead place a sign saying the firm was bound to do it. They are not doing us a favour if a certain section of the profits goes to the city.” JSPL currently has a CSR budget of Rs 25.73 crore for the whole of Raigarh district; its profits in 2011-12 was Rs 4,002 crore.
In this region of Chhattisgarh, it isn’t photographs of CM Raman Singh that one can’t miss. It’s the pictures of a beatific Naveen Jindal pasted on hoardings across the area. One may be forgiven for thinking it’s some strange dictatorial land with a leader obsessed with propagating a cult of personality about himself. Even the hierarchy on JSPL’s signboards on public roads emphasises its units first, subsuming entire towns that follow the units on the boards.
Jayant Bohidar, local Congress worker and president of the Raigarh Zila Kisan Congress, says Naveen Jindal suffers from a “mania for propagating his family’s name”. Deepak Mishra, a former resident of this city, adds, “He wants the name ‘Jindal’ to be seen everywhere. The people should forget Raigarh. Jindal, Jindal, Jindal, Kahan jaana hai? Jindalgarh.” On the other hand, Hemant Verma, manager at JSPL for liaison and PR, says there is no attempt to make a Jindalgarh of Raigarh. He even suggested the statue was relocated from the highway not because of public pressure. “It was because of a Supreme Court ruling that prohibited it,” he qualifies.
As for the major thoroughfare rechristened O.P. Jindal Marg, few refer to it by its new name. For them, it has always been Laxmipur-Dhimrapur Marg and that looks likely to remain so—at least in Naveen Jindal’s lifetime.