Hyderabad: Asserting that his subject is very different from Siddharth Varadarajan’s, noted journalist and writer Paranjoy Guha Thakurta dwelt at length upon the issue of ‘Natural Resources and Crony Capitalism’. “Natural resources do not belong even to governments. They are its custodians. They are meant for the people, and future generations to come,” he said adding that one of the several reasons for inequality in economic growth is the way natural resources are appropriated in the country.
Driving home his point he cited instances of the 2G scam, coal block allocation scam, the KG Basin issue, and the recent att-empt by the NDA government to push the Land Bill vehemently. He explained how in every instance, natural resources like the el-ectronic spectrum, coal, gas, and land were exploited. In the case of the 2G scam, not only the spectrum was allocated on the first-come-first-served basis, but several other rules too were changed to benefit a few, he said.
Eventually, the spectrum had to be reallocated after the Supreme Court’s decision, and it was proved that the figures cited by CAG were not notional or presumptive loss.
Two-third of the energy consumed in the country is produced from coal. It is a very precious, scarce natural resource. It is black diamond. But here too once again Mother Nature’s blessings was proved to be a curse. The presumptive loss was to the tune of $20 billion, huge thought from any scale. Coming to the KG Basin issue, Mr Thakurta said access to the natural gas was the real reason behind the split behind the Ambani brothers.