24 November, 2020

Reinventing A Big Bad Deal

After hanging fire for six years, a flawed, Rs 4,360-crore Indo- Oman fertiliser project is steamrolled through in undue haste

Reinventing A Big Bad Deal

Italian multinational Snamprogetti’s proposed comeback vehicle, the $1 billion (Rs 4,360 crore) Indo-Oman project, is a flawed deal which has been cleared under mysterious circumstances. Hurriedly approved on the very eve of Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee’s visit to Italy, the long-pending Indo-Oman fertiliser project gained cabinet clearance in the teeth of strong opposition from the Planning Commission, the finance ministry, the Public Investment Board (PIB) and even the Prime Minister’s Office.

When the deal was at last finalised, Suresh Prabhu, minister of state for fertilisers, kept away from the meeting. The usually-accessible Prabhu is reluctant to comment on the clearance of the project. Sources close to him, however, say the minister was "apprehensive about the lack of transparency" in the deal. According to sources, the deal could have only been cleared with the help of someone with influence at the highest level.

Notes a Planning Commission official: "Urea is a volatile commodity. Global prices crashed four years ago, in...



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