August 25, 2021 6:07:49 am
The Trinamool Congress (TMC) on Tuesday hit out at the National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP), which Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman unveiled the day before, saying it was a “dangerous bid” by the “bankrupt” Narendra Modi government to raise money by gradually handing over sectors such as rail, road, airport, and mining to corporations.
The TMC’s deputy leader in the Rajya Sabha, Sukhendu Sekhar Roy, told reporters here that the National Monetisation Pipeline was an “unprecedented anti-people move” that did not figure in the BJP’s election manifesto for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. It was also not discussed in Parliament, added Roy, who is the TMC’s chief whip in the Upper House.
“The National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP) was not discussed in Parliament or any parliamentary committee, or the consultative committee of the finance ministry. There was a brief mention of the same in the Budget speech of the finance minister. This was decided by the NITI Aayog, which is not a constitutional body. It was set up after a recommendation from the government.”
Since it was not mentioned in the BJP’s election manifesto, the NMP did not have the consent of the public, added the TMC MP.
Referring to the provision in the NMP for a lease extension, Roy said. “The Modi government will be there till 2024. How can it decide what will be done after the next Lok Sabha elections? The main aim of this party [BJP] is to do business.”
He added, “It is alarming that a 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 protests will be allowed. The government is doing this because it has gone bankrupt. It is not working for the public but for corporate companies. We oppose this kind of economic reforms.”
Quoting some documents, the TMC leader told reporters, “The NMP is a dangerous bid by the bankrupt Modi government … National highways measuring 26,700 km will be privatised, along with 400 rail stations, 150 trains. a staggering 42,300 km transmission line, 8,000 km-long GAIL pipeline, a 4,000 km-long oil pipeline, BSNL and MTNL towers are going to be handed over to corporates for 25-30 year lease that will be extended afterwards.”
Roy claimed 160 coal and other mineral mining projects, 21 airports, 31 ports, and two sports stadiums would also be privatised. Even the iconic Darjeeling toy train would be sold to a private company, he added.
Describing the situation as an “economic disaster”, the TMC MP said, “While the Modi government is selling off everything to raise money to meet the Centre’s financial bankruptcy, there is no explanation why the central vista project is being commissioned at a cost of Rs 20,000 crore and Rs 190 crore is being spent to build a new house for the vice-president.”
Asked about the party’s plans to oppose the Centre’s move, Roy told reporters, “We will protest after discussing with other parties. AITC [All India Trinamool Congress] stands against these reforms. Since globalisation, whichever government has brought forth such reforms, they have resulted in inflation and poverty. This government has failed in economic upliftment of the country – and is instead selling the public properties to raise funds.”
— With PTI inputs
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