|P.C. Chidambaram, Minister of Finance (src: wikipedia)|
Finance Minister, Palianappan Chidambaram may well be the BIGGEST POLLUTER in India
, and India has world class pollution! This is because he "OWNS" Coal India Limited (India's Government-Owned, Nationalized, Monopoly Coal producer). By "OWNS" I mean he exercises such overbearing financial control as to dictate its future.
Coal India produces some of the finest, unwashed, Grade F coal
(the most toxic and low calorific value type of coal on the scale) in the world. This coal is BURNT (gasp!) to power 70% of India's 228,000 Megawatts
of Electric Power Generation. Except when there is FOG
Actually, the Fog statement needs explanation: Indian coal is very efficient at throwing out Indian soot particles....the FOG is apparently a GREAT colloidal solvent/medium for the airborne deposition and suspension of soot
"Tripping of power transmission lines happens when heavy fog mixes
with unburnt carbon and other pollutants in the air and settles on the
conventional porcelain disc insulators along the lines, shorting the
conducting path and triggering a flashover"
See.... the power plant emitted carbon floats down onto the already "crackling" electrical transmission lines, many of them exposed to air (on purpose?...probably the Indian Meteorology Department has found a cunning new, low-cost, distributed sensor for moisture and relative humidity in the air? The newspapers are full of headlines showcasing how India leads the world in sooo many ways
.) This carbon soot combines with moisture in the FOG, and this forms an optimal low resistance path for arcing electricity. The arcing dries the soot, removing contaminants from the carbon (the water purification industry calls this "activated carbon"(!)), and then the newly activated carbon can then fall back onto the transmission line, AGAIN, attracting more impurities and repeat the cycle!
Aside #1: When the Americans found out about this property of carbon, they did what they do best....weaponized it
! This is now a nice low cost, grid-infrastructure targetting, black-op tool
Aside #2: Beijing knows EXACTLY what I'm talking about
here. So does Los Angeles (to a minor extent).
This coal is then transported by DIESEL BURNING TRUCKS to it's destinations.
Note: this helps maximize the production of more soot which is so vital to the economy.
Meanwhile, ironically, in another arm of the Indian Goberment hydra, sits, more correctly sat (in past tense), the BIGGEST WATCHDOG against environmental pollution known to civilization: (
Minister for Sabotage of Development
) Minister for Environment, Ms. Jayanti Natarajan. She was sort of abruptly "fired"/let-go/re-assigned, post haste, after an electoral defeat for her political party in the national capital, for sitting on the clearances of
at least $9 Billion worth of business investment
waiting for "her" approval.
Saboteur of Industry Minister of Environment (src:http://www.images99.com/politicians/jayanthi-natarajan-giving-speech/)
Why am I striking out the terms "Saboteur of Industry"? Read this LINK
. Also, because she is not in her position anymore! The incumbent "ruling families" of India decided they need to get "their economy" moving this very instant
, after presiding over nearly a decade of scams, headlines of kickbacks (business as usual), and paralysis because.....no one knows really. Elections don't seem to have bothered them before....so I can not fathom what happened....and the incestuous Indian Media follow a don't ask don't tell policy
on these things!
Back to the Finance Ministry
So what does all this have to do with the Minister of Finance? Back to the story.
The Finance Ministry has long wanted to sell (divest) 10% of Coal India to the public, because... the Finance Ministry is always hard pressed for money, because it always runs a deficit
, because it has huge government programs, and because when the economy throws back less revenue due to excess asphyxiation
, no doubt, they can always offload a fraction of the ownership of nationalized companies like Coal India....which they still continue to control really, to get their hands on the money......lest the rupee depreciate....and the government will be rewarded with even higher import bills and higher deficits.
The divestment didn't work. Then they tried to offload just 5%. That dint work either. No takers. Because....get this....the LABOR UNIONS of Coal India objected to the government placing a national asset like Coal India in capitalist hands.
Unions in India help Dalal Street ("wall street") Investors
Conventional MBA101 wisdom teaches you there's nothing like the rumblings of a strongly dominant labor union to douse capitalistic share purchase sentiment! YOU'D BE WRONG! It turns out the unions were really looking out for shareholders
in this case.
Aside #3: Are these the unions who oversee the extraction of Coal which is largely done laboriously by hand and bucket which is subsequently balanced on their heads and walked out to a bigger bucket? Did they get softer shovels for their efforts? Better shoes? I don't know but I do hope they got something for their agitation.
How did the unions help the shareholders? By letting them onto a better deal, bless them. Having denied the Government and Mr Chidambaram the money from a 5% divestment, which would have amounted to the Finance Ministry pocketing $$1.45 Billion, instead they forced the finance ministry to gain $3 Billion--via a "special" dividend yielding 10% (Rs 29) (based on today's
market value of Rs290 per share)! The percentage dividend would have yielded much more than 10%
on CIL's earlier share price when the Government were trying to divest.
To make matters worse, it appears the Finance Ministry had provided forward guidance on this matter at the time of the divestment!!
Quoting from the story in 15 January's Financial Express
"The government had instructed the company to pay a special dividend if
the company is unable to go ahead with the divestment plan
well sure....how are you going to have a successful share placement if you telegraph that your going to GUARANTEE shareholders a whopping >10% dividend RETURN ON INVESTMENT if it fails
?!? Because the Finance Ministry NEEDS the money.
The article mentions that CIL has $10Bn in cash on the balance sheet, prior to the dividend, and that the leak of this dividend money may affect CILs capex plans going forward.
GOVERNMENT DOING OTHER TRICKS FOR MONEY
It appears the quasi insider giveaway (Don't we all wish we knew
about these kinds of investments in advance?) with regards to CIL was a one off as of now, because the other divestments of nationalized companies at present are being placed with other nationalized companies (!)
at present via cross shareholding. whatever.....
Maybe robbing coal india's cash balances is ironically good for the environment!??