People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 32

August 09, 200



Gas Can�t Be Hostage To Private Players


ON July 27, 30 members of parliament belonging to the Left parties from both houses wrote a letter to the prime minister, asking him to ensure that a �national asset� like the natural gas reserves, including the gas of the Krishna Godavari (KG) Basin, is not appropriated as �family property.� The text of the letter is given below:

�Dear Shri Manmohan Singh Ji,

�As you are kindly aware, the government of India has rightly asserted that the country�s natural gas reserves, including the gas of the KG Basin, is a national asset, and this asset and the interests of the economy cannot be held hostage to the benevolence and mercy of some private players.

�We strongly believe that such firm assertion should be followed up by appropriate executive action on proper distribution mechanism to make the gas available to priority sectors in the country. Also, the regional balance in gas distribution should be ensured through a national gas grid, as proposed in the budget.

�The pricing of gas should be based on rational and a transparent formulation. As gas is being produced in our own soil, there is absolutely no justification of pricing it on the basis of linkage with the international price of an altogether different product like crude oil, as has been done at present by making the gas price at 4.32 US dollars per mmbtu. Hence the present gas price, determined by the EGoM, must be revised and it should be benchmarked to 2.34 dollars per mmbtu, as was offered to the NTPC, a government owned PSU, by the RIL in 2004-2005.

In the face of the �surreptitious and unauthorised� bid of appropriating the country�s sovereign natural resources as �family property� by some private players, as pointed out in the government�s affidavit before the Hon�ble Supreme Court, we urge upon the government to take over the distribution and marketing right of the KG-D6 basin gas at the delivery point so that the same can be distributed and marketed through a national gas grid under government control as is being done in case of electricity through the Powergrid Corporation of India. The Gas Authority of India Ltd (GAIL), a PSU, can be assigned the role of a nodal agency for this purpose.�

The signatories to the letter were Sitaram Yechury, D Raja, Brinda Karat, Basudev Acharia and Prashant Chatterjee, among others.