Millennium Post

Moily rejects ‘false & baseless’ charges of favouring Reliance

New Delhi: Strongly refuting allegations of favouring Reliance Industries, Oil Minister M Veerappa Moily on Friday said that the proposed revision in natural gas price will apply to all companies including state-owned ONGC. Moily thrashed CPI MP Gurudas Dasgupta's allegations of favouring RIL as 'totally false and baseless' and said the proposed increase in natural gas price was being done 'strictly in line with the formula proposed by Prime Minister appointed panel headed by his economic adviser C Rangarajan.'
'It is totally false and baseless. The new pricing, if approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), will apply to all gas produced in the country. Two-thirds of the gas produced in the country is by public sector companies (like ONGC) and the new pricing will apply equally to them and they stand to benefit more out of it,' he said.
In a point-by-point rebuttal to allegations made by Dasgupta at a press conference on Thursday, Moily said the CPI leader 'was wrong in saying that the petroleum ministry has deviated from the recommendations of Rangarajan Committee.'
The allegations of a gigantic scam in making 'are not only devoid of merits but also are malicious and based on distorted facts'. The price revision besides being contractual requirement, was needed to spur investment in oil and gas exploration which has stagnated over past few years, he said. Gas finds in deep-sea are not economically viable to develop at current rate of $4.2 per million British thermal unit.
'Dasgupta talks of
fertiliser subsidy rising due to gas price increase but what he does not realise is that if domestic production does not increase, we will have to import gas and imported gas (LNG) costs triple the domestic gas price,' Moily said.
The government stands to gain from rise in domestic gas price by way of increased royalty, profit petroleum as well as taxes which can be used to make up for increased subsidy.  ‘Spreading false information will scare away investors,’ he said. ‘We need technology and investment to explore and produce more domestically so as to cut reliance on imports.’
Moily said the Rangarajan panel formula has to be approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs and views of the other ministries and Planning Commission shall be placed before the Cabinet for consideration. PTI
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