People's Democracy

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


No. 20

May 16, 2010


Govt Must Take Over Natural Gas


THE CITU has drawn immediate attention of the government to the reported observation of the Supreme Court on May 7, that it would be ideal if projects relating to gas and other natural resources were exclusively handled by public sector undertakings (PSUs) rather than giving them to the private sector, to make sure that these resources are used for the benefit of citizens of the country.

It appears that the government has taken the plea of shortage of funds and technical knowhow to justify handing over the resource like KG Basin Gas to private sector, which is factually and historically wrong. The three PSUs, viz ONGC, Oil India Limited (OIL) and Gas Authority of India Ltd (GAIL), are engaged in production and distribution of gas since decades. They have necessary funds and technical knowhow to carry out these activities. Combined together these three PSUs can match the RIL and other private companies in terms of turnover and profitability. As a matter of fact, the ONGC and Oil India Ltd are till date supplying natural gas at much lower rate than those offered by RIL and other existing private companies. The CITU has reminded the government that GAIL was designated as the nodal agency in 1984 by a cabinet decision to build a national gas grid in the country. Similarly, preparatory seismic studies for exploration purposes were made by the ONGC and OIL for most of the blocks which had been subsequently handed over to private companies.

The CITU has urged the government to give due regard to the observation of the apex Court as well as to the constitutional provision of treating natural resource like gas as the property of the nation and to control the production and distribution of the same by taking over KG Basin Gas production as well as distribution. (INN)