ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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So Many Dabhols

So Many Dabhols SO the heavens did not fall after all. The cancellation of Enron's Dabhol power project by the Maharashtra government has not reduced the country to rack and ruin, as some very eminent personages had been assuring us it would. Indeed what is remarkable is that those who just weeks ago were hurling dire threats on behalf of Enron that any untoward action against its project would be regarded as quite intolerable and would result in nothing less than total loss of foreign investors' confidence in India appear to have suddenly mellowed and are now straining hard to sound reasonable and understanding. Take, for instance, the US energy secretary who on lobbying visits to this country earlier this year had read us the riot law and told us in no uncertain terms that cancellation of the Enron project would jeopardise all the private power projects being proposed for international financing. Her brashness had been such as to cause some raising of eyebrows even in the US Congress but our own ministers took her statements with the utmost earnestness. Now the redoubtable Hazel O'Leary is singing a different tune, however. Her response to the Maharashtra government's decision on Enron has been notably moderate. She has merely asked that India's policies in respect of the power sector be more clearly spelt out. And in place of the earlier bluster, she is all concern for the long-run relationship between India and the US and is at pains to emphasise that "rough patches" such as the Enron episode "cannot be allowed to get in the way". Or take the Independent Power Producers' Association which too had campaigned aggressively on behalf of Enron, but faced with the Maharashtra government's decision it has likewise confined itself to calling for a national dialogue on energy policy to evolve clear-cut guidelines to attract foreign investors. Who can possibly disagree with that?

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