Trinamool mulls nationwide stir against Nat'l Monetisation Pipeline
KOLKATA: Stating that the National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP) was not discussed in either Parliament or in any Parliamentary Committee or the Consultative Committee of the Finance ministry, Trinamool Congress (TMC) Rajya Sabha MP Sukhendu Sekhar Roy on Tuesday said the party was planning a nationwide protest against the new economic reforms policy.
"It (NMP) was decided by the Niti Aayog, which is not a constitutional body and was set up following the recommendations of the Centre," he said, adding that the BJP had never mentioned anything about this major economic overhaul in its election manifestos of 2014 and 2019. "Since they didn't mention NMP in the election manifesto, we can now say that people don't want MNP," he added.
The leader claimed that TMC would get in touch with the Opposition parties over the issue and then the protest will be launched.
The TMC MP stated that the Centre's claim that the private players would be involved in the PPP model was "absolutely bogus" as the assets would be "perpetually leased" to the private companies and the lease would be renewed every 25 years.
"In a huge country like India, it is not acceptable that all public properties will be handed over to private players like this," he added.
"It is alarming that perpetual lease has been granted to the private sector and this lease can be extended further. It will destroy the ecosystem. Work security will no longer exist and hire and fire policy will dictate. No strikes or protest will be allowed," he said.
He maintained that the BJP had deliberately not mentioned NMP in the election manifesto of 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha polls to avoid public wrath. He added that the NMP would be implemented over a span of four years.
"The BJP is going to face a general election in 2024 and no one knows about the mandate. Under such a situation, how can they take up a policy that will be implemented over a span of four years," he asked.
He further stated that the assets coming under the purview of NMP were 26,700 km national highways, 42,300 circuit km of power transmission line, 8,000 km natural gas pipeline, two hydrogen generation plants, 5,000 MW power generation capacity and 4,000 km of the oil pipeline, among others.
In addition to these, 400 railway stations, 150 trains, 1,400 km railway tracks, 265 goods sheds, 160 mining projects and 161 mineral blocks would be leased out.
Twenty five airports, 31 ports and two sports stadiums would be leased out. "In the telecom sector, Bharat Fibre Network across the country which was built with public money, would be leased out to the private players. Open coal mines, which would be leased out, were likely to pose potential environmental and health hazards," he added.
He alleged that the BJP had ruined the country economically because of its faulty policies that include demonetisation.
"It was Mamata Banerjee who had first pointed out that it would impact the Indian economy badly. When the country was facing a great economic crisis, ambitious projects like the Central Vista worth Rs 20,000 crore and construction of a house for the Vice-President worth Rs 190 crore had been taken up," he stated.
Moreover, the leader said that it was most unfortunate that the policies of the Central government had been drafted by the business groups.
"The Centre has become a government of the Corporate, by the Corporate and for the Corporate. It has completely forgotten that India is a welfare state," he said.
Meanwhile, the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) — declared as a World Heritage — featuring in the National Monetisation Pipeline, witnessed a widespread appeal to the Union government for revocation of the decision.
"We appeal to the Government of India to reconsider their decision. The DHR has always been a part and parcel of the community. We are accustomed to seeing it with the Indian Railways and we would like it to remain that way," stated Samrat Sanyal, general secretary of the Himalayan Hospitality and Tourism Development Network.
"One just cannot hand over a world heritage to a private company. It is not just about running a train, this is what Railways is not understanding. The Union, state and local government along with the community has to come forward to preserve the DHR, privatisation will not help in any way," stated Raj Basu, Secretary General of DHR India Support Group. The DHR was inscribed a world heritage in 1999.
#Twenty five airports, 31 ports and two sports stadiums would be leased out. "In the telecom sector, Bharat Fibre Network across the country which was built with public money, would be leased out to the private players. Open coal mines, which would be leased out, were likely to pose potential environmental and health hazards," he added.