‘Corruption’ In RSP: Trade Union Demands CBI Probe, Penalising Tainted Officials
**Rourkela:** As corruption is allegedly ruling roost in the public sector undertaking Rourkela Steel Plant (RSP) owned by the Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL), the Aam Mazdoor Sangh has demanded a high level probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
The trade union has also demanded the CBI should also take the tainted officials into task and the Union Government should recover the loss amount caused to the national coffers from such corrupt elements due to their allegedly vested interests and evil designs.
Aam Mazdoor Sangh president Bharat Bai in his reactions said, “As Rourkela Steel Plant is a PSU (public sector undertaking), Re 1 profit automatically goes to the national coffers.
Similarly, Re 1 loss is a loss to the national exchequer. RSP has been selling the slag for the last 4 years at Rs 275 per tonne. But, we were demanding that it should be sold on competition basis via e-auction to gain more. Now it was sold at Rs 1000-1100 due to competition. But, about Rs 200 crore of loss has been accrued in the last two years following the Rs 275 per tonne rate. Who will compensate it? We demand a CBI probe and penalising the responsible officials for such a lackadaisical and myopic decision.”
SEAR general secretary Baidyanath Das remarked, “Corruption in the PSUs has been a common phenomenon and deep-rooted system now. If we take Rourkela Steel Plant into consideration on the corruption issue, no instance in sight to stem the rot here. Currently it is being observed that an environment of panic has been created by saying that the plant is making loss. Under such a juncture, a handful of unscrupulous officials have been on their corruption spree. Earlier, an executive director from here was arrested by CBI on corruption charges. Amazingly, he was reinstated after 15 days. Had it been the case of an ordinary worker here, he could not have been reinstated even after fight a 10-year-long legal battle. Hence, how can corruption be checked if such an unholy nexus is at the higher level? Starting from slag scam to usable assets, there is no transparency here. No god can save this plant unless the local people and officials combat corruption and give a checkmate to the vicious circle.”
A glaring case in point is that of the alleged modus operandi in selling of BF Slag of the plant.
As per reports, earlier complaints flooded over selling of BF Slag on local open sale notice, where price was on fixed basis without conducting any e-auction and price was around Rs 330 per cubic meter by road and Rs 275 rupees per ton by rail.
It has been alleged that the process of local open sale was conducted only to favour local private manufacturers.
But, continuous efforts were made since CEO, RSP was ED (Works) in 2013, and finally CEO, RSP followed the e-auction procedure on April 29, 2017 to make more competition and more and more vendor participation in order to sell the RSP product at a much higher price.
Hence on April 29, 2017 when e-auction was conducted, 6 parties participated in e-auction for rail loading and some earlier parties, who were buying the BF slag at Rs 300 per ton, have now quoted more than Rs 1000 per ton, as per reports.
The reports also added that all the lots of BF Slag were allotted to the parties with price range of Rs 1065 per ton to Rs 1105 per ton, which is much higher than the earlier Rs 275 per ton.
Finally, RSP was able to sell 3.24 Lakh ton at Rs 34,88,40,000 as compared to previous open sale notice where same quantity was sold only at Rs 8 crores approximately in a duration around 5-6 months. Thus, RSP lost Rs 26 crores in the last 6 months and accordingly, more than Rs 100 crores in the last 2 years from the selling of BF Slag at Rs 275 per ton, the trade union stated.
On being prodded by media for his reactions on such a large scale corruption, Aswini Kumar, CEO, RSP quipped in a lighter vein, “Tell me where corruption doesn’t reign supreme in India? A few days back it had been highlighted in the media that 65% of the Indians are corrupt.”