Friday, May 15, 2009

HPCL loss seen at Rs 500 cr

15 May 2009, 0148 hrs IST, Rajeev Jayaswal, ET Bureau

NEW DELHI: State-run fuel retailer Hindustan Petroleum Corp (HPCL) may post a net loss of Rs 400-500 crore in 2008-09, despite a bailout package being offered by the government.

However, the package will help the two other public sector oil marketing companies, Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) and Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL), post net profits, said three persons familiar with the matter.

The bailout package includes oil bonds worth around Rs 10,000 crore and upstream contributions of about Rs 1,000 crore from ONGC, Oil India and GAIL India in the form of discounts on crude oil and LPG sourced by the three fuel retailers.

HPCL had suffered huge inventory losses in 2008-09, when it bought fuel from other refiners and sold it through its outlets at lower rates after the government cut pump prices, besides its share in the combined losses of Rs 103,182 crore suffered by the three fuel retailers, said a government official who asked not to be named.

HPCL did not respond to an email query from ET.

“The company was hit harder as it had to buy refined products (petrol, diesel, kerosene and liquefied petroleum gas) in large quantities from the market to ensure uninterrupted supply of fuel to customers,” said an HPCL official, requesting anonymity. HPCL had to buy refined fuel products from the open market as it did not have enough refining capacity, he said.

HPCL has only two refineries—one in Mumbai (capacity of 5.5 million tonnes per annum) and the other in Visakhapatnam (7.5 mmtpa). It had to purchase and stock additional quantities of fuel from the open market during the recent strike by IOC and BPCL staff. HPCL staff did not take part in the strike.

IOC, BPCL and HPCL are yet to get the final instalment of oil bonds for the fourth quarter of 2008-09, said another government official. “Once bonds are issued, companies will be asked to review their accounts and deficits will be met though upstream discounts as per the direction of the Cabinet,” he said, requesting anonymity.

The government is expected to issue the oil bonds before the three companies announce their annual results in the last week of May.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Glimpses into How Elections are Conducted in India

To Chief and two other Election Commissioners,
Nirvachan Sadan, New Delhi

Dear Sirs
Please refer to my letters below of 12th and 5th May. And note that the Election Department itself commits so many blunders. Take immediate note of it and improve your working.

Yours truly,
Dr. Leo Rebello
Candidate, 26 North Mumbai Parliamentary Constituency

Dr. Leo Rebello
Candidate, 26-North Mumbai Parliamentary Constituency
28/552 Samata Nagar, Kandivali East, Mumbai 400101. Tel. 28872741

12th May 2009
Shri Baliram Pawar, IAS
Returning Officer
26-North Mumbai Parliamentary Constituency
Bandra East, Mumbai 51.

Subject: Grave Irregularities in the office of the RO
Ref: My letter of 5th May 2009 and your reply of 8th May
sent through my Election Agent on 9th May 2009.

Your reply of 8th May, to my letter of 5th May is incomplete. While my aforesaid letter contains 15 paragraphs, raising 15 irregularities, you have replied to only 12 and that too not properly.

2.. Vide para.3 of your letter, you have given the names of the Central Observers with their mobile numbers. This you should have provided long ago. But inspite of request in writing, you have still not provided the names and contact numbers of DM/DEO as also the Chief Election Officer of Maharashtra as also your and ARO’s official mobile numbers. You say that the said information was released in the Press, but you have not provided copies of the said information. You say that the contesting election candidates’ list was displayed on the notice board. But you are supposed to give a copy to each candidate, which was not given to me, which you provided on 9th May after my letter. But the said list was provided to other political parties candidates. If this is not discriminatory behaviour, then it is mismanagement.

3.. Vide para.5 you say that the ARO sent letters re: sealing of EVM, transportation and where they would be kept. Well, my Election Agent or I did not receive any such information, which you have notified now after I raised objection. Since I have lot of information on the malfunctioning of the EVMs and how data can get corrupted, storage of EVMs away from strong electromagnetic current is very essential. I would like to know whether the EVMs have been kept in the electromagnetically shielded Faraday cages? If not, it means the ECI is ignorant.

4.. Reading your reply vide para 6, it appears that either you are ignorant or rules have been changed. I say that my election agent Shri M.T.Govande has NOT received the Election Agent I-Card and Badge that earlier the EC used to provide.

5.. Till today, you have still not provided a copy of the full list of the Election Agents. Please provide the same atleast today. I need it for my record and future reference if necessary.

6.. Read para.8 of my letter of 5th May and read your reply vide para.6 of your letter. ECI informing the police to register offenses is one thing and your office, the Central Election Observers, the Camera team being on surveillance is another. I say, since it is a known modus operandi of the big political parties like Congress/BJP to distribute money in the last two days, what precautionary measures you, your staff, the central observers took, is the issue. You are trying to cover up your serious lapses and failures. While on this subject, please also clarify and provide copies of your ATR, if any, on the arrest of Congress Candidate Sanjay Nirupam and his men, as also the rioting that took place on 28th and 29th April. What were the Election Observers, your videographers doing? I had seen your so-called Central Election Observers only once at the time of scrutiny. Even on the Election Day, they were not seen anywhere. Were they on official duty or election holiday, like the voters go on holiday on the voting day? Has the RO/DM-DEO submitted a movement and the work done report by the two Central observers, namely, M/s Dilip Singh and Vimal Kirti, both of IAS, to the ECI? If so, as the Contesting Candidate I would like to have a copy of the said report. I would also like to receive copies of the report sent to the ECI by these two gentlemen.

7.. Your reply re: Micro-observers is not convincing. If the candidates and their election agents do not know who the micro-observers are at sensitive centers, how do we report the lapses, irregularities and offenses? If your micro observers were conniving with the corrupt candidates like Sanjay Nirupam, etc. how will we report the electoral offenses like distributing money, etc. As you are aware, the news of Sanjay Nirupam and his men distributing money was flashed widely in the media, and yet he was arrested much later and released on a small bail of Rs.950 by the corrupt police. I would like to receive copies of the FIR and report submitted by you or the Election Observers on this issue to the DM-DEO or the ECI, respectively. This report will form part of the Election Petition if Sanjay Nirupam were to win inspite of several irregularities. Please note that I am not a dummy candidate and I take these violations of model code of conduct seriously.

8.. Referring to your para.10, I say and aver that you did not inform and act on the Ballot votes. I know several Govt. servants (even those serving under you) who did not vote on 30th April. We will come to know more about this failure on your part on the counting day.

9.. What is the great idea of keeping the constituency plan and boundary information only in your office? This is very essential information, which you failed to provide inspite of your promise given to me on the scrutiny day.

10. I reiterate, that your office is wasting too much time of my Election Agent Shri M.T.Govande, 75 years old. On 9th May he left my home at 2.00 PM and returned at 8.00 PM and he reports to me that there is great mess and arbitrariness in your office.

11. You have deliberately or otherwise not replied to my important paragraphs no.10 (which deals with the violation of Article 326) and 15 (which deals with transparency and neutrality).

12. On other important issues like alphabetical listing of candidates names, providing CDs of Voters List to all candidates, and display of Candidates List, Vote Audit, storage of EVMs in Faraday Cages, and other shortcomings that I may note on the Counting day, I will notify to the ECI for correction. You should note that I give these learned suggestions to improve and not to harass anyone.

Best Wishes

Dr. Leo Rebello

Copies to DM-DEO and ECI for information.


Dr. Leo Rebello
Candidate, 26-North Mumbai, Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh

5th May, 2009
By Hand Delivery
To: Shri B.G.Pawar
Returning Officer, 26-North Mumbai

Dear Shri Pawar

Ref: Your letter RO/26-MN-LMS/09/2009 of 27th April 2009

Apropos your above letter my pointwise response:-

1. The limited number of posters and banners were in 4 colours. Vouchers were shown and copies were given.

2. Form A and B are to submitted by the Publisher and Printer and not by the Candidate or his Election Agent. The Printer and Publisher were notified of this requirement. Besides, may it also be noted that there is nothing objectionable in few pamphlets printed in single colour. This provision in law is mainly to check mischief.

3. Expense Statements duly signed have been submitted by me with necessary vouchers and they have been duly signed and stamped by the designated officer.

4.. Vouchers have been duly signed.

5.. While submitting the final account due care will be taken to submit the accounts in the prescribed register with original vouchers / bills duly signed, and statements in required format with an Affidavit as required. Needless to say that being a law-abiding person, I am aware of the provisions.


1.. Your office conducted only one meeting with the contesting candidates and their agents, to the best of my knowledge. If more meetings were held, I was NOT notified in writing. Your office instead of delivering such notifications phones and asks to collect such letters from your office, which is not proper.

2.. I have NOT received till date the names and contact numbers of the two Central observers.

3.. Similarly, you have NOT given me your or ARO’s mobile numbers, or the names, telephone, fax and email ids of the District Election Officer, BSD, Chief Electoral Officer, Maharashtra State and his main officers.

4.. I have NOT received till today the list of candidates, and the order in which the names of the contesting candidates appear. It is only when I went for voting that I came to know that my name was at number 9. Please provide the said list to my agent Sri Govande atleast today, 5th May. This is required for my record.

5.. Please explain, if we are talking of “a level playing field”, then why the names of all candidates should not appear in alphabetical order? Why the list is bifurcated in terms of National Parties, Regional Parties and Independents giving undue advantage to candidates of major parties who are forced on the voters?

6.. I or my agent was not notified about the date, time and place where the EVMs would be kept. I came to know of it from the newspapers.

7.. Till today my Election Agent, Sri M.T.Govande has NOT received the Election Agent’s badge eventhough I appointed him as my election agent on 27th April and you signed and sealed the said application on the same day.

8.. Enough precaution was NOT taken by your office on 28th and 29th April, 2009, to curb money power and other grave irregularities by Sanjay Nirupam of Congress, and other candidates, as per the provisions of para 4.6 of the Handbook of Candidates drawn as per the Model Code of Conduct and as per the changes made in the People’s Representation Act, from time to time.

9.. Likewise, I did NOT see any micro observers [as per 4.7] or videography of critical events [as per 4.8 of the said Handbook for Candidates].

10. The Voters’ Assistance Booths [4.10] were ill equipped. Even though your office was notified telephonically that my son Robin Rebello had an EPIC and he had voted in the last elections, because his name was missing from the list this time, he was denied the voting right, no remedial action was taken. Likewise, my agent Sri M.T.Govande and his family members’ names were missing even though they had voted in last election and they were holding EPIC cards. This mischief, lapse, dereliction of duty, amounts to disenfrenchisement [violation of article 326 of the Constitution of India] and is a serious offense as per the People’s Representation Act.

11. Similarly, postal ballot papers, to involve greater participation, were not looked into [4.5].

12. As a contesting candidate I did NOT receive the constituency plan or boundary information, as per para 5 - delimitation and extent of constituencies - page 3 of the Handbook of Candidates.

13. While candidates of recognized parties received voters list, others did not receive the same. Why this discrimination? Why in the days of computerization the list cannot be provided on CDs? Why Govt. is wasting so much paper in printing these bulky and faulty lists? What level playing field and equal opportunities are we talking of?

14. My agent Sri M.T.Govande (75 years old) is made to stand even for an acknowledgement stamp for long in your office. His full day is spoilt at your office because of clumsiness of your staff.

15. Para 4.11 talks of transparency and neutrality on the part of the election officials, which is missing going by the above factual observations.

Finally, I may appoint a few counting agents, if necessary for 16th May. Please, therefore, let me know of the requirements, expenses to be paid towards lunch, tea, snacks etc. and streamline the functioning of your office to cooperate with the law-abiding candidates like me rather than harass them with unnecessary quibbling. Democratic Elections should be celebrations. But ECI has made a mess of the entire system since T.N.Seshan’s time.
Yours truly,
Dr. Leo Rebello
Copies to
1.. Election Observers,
2.. The District Election Officer, BSD
for information, pursuant to RO’s above letter.

Oil PSUs may suffer Rs 15,000 cr revenue loss

Oil PSUs may face losses


NEW DELHI: The Indian Oil Corporation, Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum may suffer over Rs 15,000 crore revenue loss on fuel sales this fiscal, Petroleum Secretary, Mr R S Pandey said on Wednesday.

“At current crude prices, oil marketing companies are likely to end 2009-10 fiscal with over Rs 15,000 crore under-recovery (revenue loss) against Rs 1,03,292 crore of the previous year,” he said addressing the India Energy Forum here.

Mr Pandey said the retailers were currently incurring loss on sale of petrol, domestic LPG and kerosene while they made a small profit on diesel sales.

They sell petrol at a loss of Rs 1.80 per litre, kerosene at Rs 12.27 per litre and LPG at a loss of Rs 91.51 per cylinder. On diesel, however, they make Rs 1.19 a litre profit.

The three firms lose Rs 48 crore per day on fuel sales. IOC, BPCL and HPCL incurred revenue loss of Rs 1,03,292 crore on sale of auto and cooking fuel in 2008-09.

Of this, Rs 32,000 crore was met by upstream firms like Oil and Natural Gas Corporation by way of discount on crude oil they sell to the three firms.

Besides, government issued the three retailers Rs 60,967 crore worth of oil bonds. - PTI

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Holiday or Poll-iday?

Kiran Bedi

Driving through nearly deserted roads of New Delhi while going to cast my vote, I wondered where the voters were? Despite the massive explosion of creative and relentless Pappu drives-Jago Re campaigns through all possible mediums available. At the end of the day, voting turnout was just over 50%— an exceedingly disproportionate outcome compared to the intensity of these collective drives. The percentage ought not to have been less than 75 to 80%. So what went wrong? What could be that ONE CHANGE that could be experimented with, and which hopefully may succeed in smashing this barrier and take it a new level?

It would be, to make the voting day a non-holiday — just another working day with permission to report late or leave early to enable voting. Not only will this really get the vote “out”, it will help create persuasive pressure groups at work that will ensure increased voting. This may be an unpopular step as everyone loves a holiday. Invariably many a families use this (holi)day to make it into a long weekend. It is often said that the city dwellers do not vote hence they do not matter. I am convinced that if the voting day is not declared a holiday, the urban classes will be out voting in large numbers. They will not have to make a special effort to come out to vote as they will already be on the road. Many will first go to the polling booth near their home and then go to work. Or vote on their way home from work.

This will most likely take turnout to 75 to 80%. The good news is that everyone in the constituency will matter. This means that candidates will not be able to play divisive politics. The country’s urban elite and the middle classes often complain about the state of affairs and the fact that politicians only cater to the poor and rural populations. And why shouldn’t they? These people form a preponderance of the voting population. So it is time that the urban classes stand up, get out of their holiday mood, vote and be counted. Else they can forever make peace with their grievances. Keeping the voting day a working day obviates the need for making voting mandatory. What a simple yet powerful revolution in democracy to rise above cast, creed, religion, and gender. Is this worth considering? Or is the status quo too comfortable to change?

(Kiran Bedi is the first woman IPS officer and a recipient of the Ramon Magsaysay