Thursday 6 September 2007
Please write to BLACKSTONE GROUP company to stop funding mega hydel projects in Dzongu, indigenous Lepcha tribal reserve in
Himagiri Hydro EnergyLmtd is the company that will be working under the Nagarjuna Construction Company to build to the 280MW Panang Hydel power project in Dzongu.
Nagarjuna Construction Company Limited raises US $150 million from The
Blackstone Group Hyderabad, 28th August 2007 – Nagarjuna Construction Company Limited ("NCC" or the "Company"), a leading Indian construction company, today announced that its Board of Directors has approved an investment of US$ 150 million by the Blackstone Group funds. NCC will raise US$ 150 million through a fresh issue of shares and convertible warrants. Blackstone will have representation on the Board of NCC. Kotak Investment Banking and SSKI acted as the investment banking advisors to the Company and Blackstone, respectively, in the transaction.
Founded in 1978 by Mr. AVS Raju and currently led by his son, Mr. A Ranga Raju, NCC
is the third largest construction services company in
owns several infrastructure assets on a build-operate-transfer basis. Its construction
services business operates in the road, water, buildings, electrical works and irrigation
segments, and the Company recently expanded into the power, oil and gas, and metals
segments. The Company is listed in
ticker symbol (NAGARCON) and on the National Stock Exchange under the ticker
Commenting on the deal, Mr. A Ranga Raju, Managing Director, NCC stated, "We
welcome Blackstone as a long term partner. With its global reach and proactive approach, Blackstone brings immense value to the Company. This investment will not only allow us to make additional investments in public-private infrastructure projects, but will also expand our capital base, enabling us to bid for larger projects going forward and strengthening our strategic positioning in the market."
Mr. Akhil Gupta, Chairman and Managing Director of Blackstone Advisors India Private Limited, stated, "We believe that planned infrastructure expenditure, economic growth, and urbanization will drive long term growth in
Blackstone funds will invest equity capital in the Company in two tranches. Blackstone will be allotted 20,246,900 equity shares of Rs.2/- each at a premium of Rs.200.50 (equivalent to approximately US$ 100 million) and 9,111,111 warrants (with an exercise period of 18 months) of Rs.225/- per warrant, with each warrant convertible into one equity share of Rs.2/- each at a premium of Rs.223/- (equivalent to approximately US$ 50 million).
An Extraordinary General Meeting of the members of the Company is scheduled for 24th September, 2007 in order to obtain the approval of the members of the Company for the aforementioned issuance of shares and warrants on a preferential basis.
About The Blackstone Group The Blackstone Group (NYSE:BX) is a leading global alternative asset manager and provider of financial advisory services. Its alternative asset management businesses include the management of corporate private equity funds, real estate opportunity funds, funds of hedge funds, mezzanine funds, senior debt funds, proprietary hedge funds and closed-end mutual funds. The Blackstone Group also provides various financial advisory services, including mergers and acquisitions advisory, restructuring and reorganization advisory and fund placement service.
Nagarjuna Construction Company Limited:
Senior Vice President
+91 (98668) 55551
The Blackstone Group:
The Blackstone Group
+44 (0)20 7451 4295
IPAN Public Relations and Public Affairs
Jawaharlal Nehru, in 1955, observes relics removed from the Nagarjunasagar reservoir site. PHOTOS: THE HINDU PHOTO LIBRARY
SPEAKING to the Central Board of Irrigation and Power in November 1958, Jawarhalal Nehru deplored a "dangerous outlook developing in India", which he termed the "disease of giganticism". The "idea of doing big undertakings or doing big tasks for the sake of showing that we can do big things," remarked Nehru, "is not a good outlook at all". For it was "the small irrigation projects, the small industries and the small plants for electric power which will change the face of the country, far more than a dozen big projects in half a dozen places". The Prime Minister drew his audience's attention to "the national upsets, upsets of the people moving out and their rehabilitation and many other things, associated with a big project". These upheavals would be on a lesser scale in a smaller scheme, enabling the State to "get a good deal of what is called public co-operation".
The speech was entitled "Social aspects of small and Big Projects"; it is reprinted in a volume of Nehru's speeches on science and society published by the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library in 1988. The volume is obscure; the speech more obscure still. But it deserves to be known, and broadcast. For this was the same Nehru who was an enthusiast for large projects, who once celebrated big dams as the "temples" of modern India.
No anti-dam movements
What made Nehru change his mind? There were no anti-dam movements then, no satyagrahas or dharnas by peasants threatened with displacement. As he grew older, Nehru tended to think more of Mahatma Gandhi; perhaps it was his mentor's insistence on the rights of the "last man" that prompted his rethink. More likely, it was the evidence of the suffering accumulated over a decade of commissioning and building big dams. Too many people had made too large a sacrifice for what was, in the end, not too great a benefit. Besides, these massive schemes were already generating huge amounts of corruption. As a democrat, Nehru was attentive to the rights of the lowly and vulnerable. As a scientist, he was open to changing his mind in the face of new evidence. Thus it was that, in the evening of his life, this once-great proponent of large dams started contemplating more democratic and more scientific alternatives.
PHOTOS: THE HINDU PHOTO LIBRARY
However, Nehru's change of mind came too late to reverse a course already well set. Large dams continued to be planned, and built. From the late 1970s, however, scientific reservations about their economic viability were joined to popular movements protesting their destruction of the environment and their violations of human rights. In July 1983, the veteran social worker Muralidhar "Baba" Amte wrote to the Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, urging her to intervene in stopping two dams in central India that would submerge 2,00,000 acres of dense forest. These dams would also displace 40,000 adivasis; although they would be paid monetary compensation, "nothing can compensate for the wrench they would suffer in leaving their traditional cultural environment ... ". In terms strikingly reminiscent of Nehru's 1958 address, Amte argued that "it might not be necessary to incur the multiple costs and risks in building more dams of gigantic size". "A series of small dams," he continued, could "adequately meet the water and energy needs of the people, including electricity for industry, without degrading the environment."
Writing to Mrs Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi
Thus Amte "earnestly request(ed)" the Prime Minister "to intercede on behalf of Man and Nature, and reaffirm the national policy of protecting forest wealth and tribal culture".
This was the first of a series of letters on the subject written by Baba Amte to Indira Gandhi and, after her death, to her son and successor Rajiv Gandhi. Mrs. Gandhi replied, twice. On August 30, 1983 she said that while "my own views are well known", it was nonetheless "a very difficult battle". On July 18, 1984, she wrote that although she was "most unhappy that development projects displace tribal people from their habitat, ... sometimes there is no alternative and we have to go ahead in the larger interest".
Rajiv Gandhi also replied, twice. A letter of October 4 contained this single sentence: "I have received your letter of 20 September and have noted the various points contained in it". The next week he wrote a longer letter, perhaps because an advisor had advised it, and told him about Baba Amte's stature (which, as the brusque tone of the first letter suggests, the Prime Minister was unaware of). This finessed the question in lofty generalities: "I share your view that the common people of our country are a vast reservoir of strength. Their energy, enthusiasm and innate good sense have to be combined with modern skills ... . We will go very thoroughly into the environmental and human aspects. We have to be careful about the problems of tribal communities which lose their traditional homelands when such projects are constructed."
I have quoted statements on large dams by three Prime Ministers. I think it fair to say that each one is characteristic. Rajiv Gandhi appears to have signed his name to a vague and non-committal letter drafted by someone else. Indira Gandhi professed her sympathy with tribals and the environment, but hinted that she was helpless against deeper and darker forces. Nehru's remarks were the most frank and direct. They were also unprompted, the self-correcting thoughts of a man who was a thinker before he was a Prime Minister.
Further Extracts on "Disease of Gigantism"....
Nine women from Sakyong, Dzongu,
Their land falls on the dam-site of the proposed Panan hydro-electric power project and there are chances that a major portion of their land would be submerged.
According to Aakith Lepcha, they had to come here to fight for their land as their husband who had left for Lingzya and 4th Mile for rations along with other Lepcha men had been allegedly duped by the Panchayats to sign on the cheque and receive the compensation, after which they were reportedly taken for a tour to Samdruptse.
Same is the case with Denka Lepcha. During a press conference called by the Concerned Lepchas of Sikkim (CLOS) today, Denka Lepcha in a tearful note said that the mother of the houses and the children should have equal rights to the property and not only the consent of the father of the house. “I have got four sons and I don’t know whether my land would be enough to distribute amongst them. And even though I haven’t seen such an amount of money in my lifetime, I consider my land the greatest asset,” Mrs Lepcha spoke out in a Lepcha dialect.
It is obvious from such episodes that the social and family rift in the Lepcha reserve has already been felt not to speak of the environmental or the concerns of sanctity.Talking to the media, Gyatso Lepcha, President, CLOS informed that the Union Minister of Tribal Affairs during a meeting with a team of Lepchas from Kalimpong had clarified that the government has not sought any sanction from the ministry regarding the power projects in the Dzongu reserve.
“We once again reiterate our demands for scrapping all the power projects from Dzongu,” Mr. Lepcha said.
The indefinite relay hunger strike initiated by the Affected Citizen of Teesta (ACT) has stepped into the 78th day today.
Meanwhile, three members from ACT, four members from CLOS and from SAFE is in