Marxistindia Digest, Vol 425, Issue 1

No Succumbing to RIL Demands

The CPI(M) has been raising the issues concerning the KG basin gas fields for the past number of years. Since 2006, CPI(M) MPs have been raising the question of the unjustified hike in the gas price, inflated expenditure shown by the Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) and the impact of gold plating (artificial increase in cost) on the price of gas which is also a major input in power and fertilizer.

A number of letters were written to the Petroleum Minister and the Prime Minister on these issues.

The latest intervention by the CPI(M) MP Tapan Sen was in May 2012 to demand that the gas price revision demanded by RIL be not acceded to (see annexure). The Prime Minister’s office had intervened to see that the RIL’s demand is considered by the ministry even after the ministry had rejected it.

It is in this context that the shifting out of Shri Jaipal Reddy from the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas raises disturbing questions. Here is a brazen instance of how pressure from the biggest corporate in India has worked.

The new Minister for Petroleum has already gone on record that quick decisions would be taken to ensure energy security. Already moves are on to concede to the RIL’s demands.

The whole country is watching to see the outcome. Any step to render undue benefit to the RIL at the expense of the people’s interest cannot be accepted.

The Prime Minister and the UPA government should not increase the price of natural gas prematurely as demanded by the RIL. Price revision is due only in April 2014. The RIL’s demand for reimbursement for increased capital expenditure should not be accepted. There has to be a performance audit by the CAG of the capital expenditure incurred and the production targets met by the RIL.

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