Who moved my gas
There cannot be a second opinion on the seriousness of the allegations that Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) has raised against Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), petitioning to the Delhi High Court that it has suffered a loss worth Rs 30,000 crore because of RIL’s withdrawing of gas from the PSU’s natural gas block in Krishna-Godavari basin. Although both the parties have agreed to submit documents before an independent probe panel, what must be noted here is the gravity of the charge, given that natural gas which is owned by the public sector behemoth is a national resource that belongs to everyone. Since the allegations point towards at least 18 billion cubic metres of natural gas being illegally extracted since 2009 from ONGC-controlled gas block by RIL, either intentionally or unwittingly as a result of an unexamined links between the two gas blocks, the high-level investigation is more than necessary. In the interest of transparency and accountability, as well as fairness of resource distribution, the panel must establish the quantum of gas withdrawn by RIL from ONGC-owned gas fields in KG basin, as well as if there were lapses on the part of Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH) and the Centre (under the former UPA regime) which allowed Mukesh-Ambani-owned RIL to go on exploiting the general ambience of governmental apathy, or indeed, complicity. Inasmuch as the RIL-owned KG-D6 has been caught in a phenomenal crisis involving massive non-fulfillment of production targets, the private sector giant’s serial delinquency couldn’t be more emphasised. The sorry situation created because of RIL’s own inadequate production and insufficient development of gas fields has been symptomatic of the former UPA regime’s inability to tell off the corporate shark, who short-changed the nation for private profit, hiking gas price to more than double its previous value despite public outrage. To top it all, now the allegation of gas theft against RIL is really the icing on a gigantic cake of corruption, which must be looked into at the earliest.