Centre drops appeal in SC on natural gas issue, revises policy
New Delhi: In a surprise move, Centre Monday withdrew its petition in Supreme Court challenging Bombay high court order staying its guidelines on supply of natural gas and informed the court that it has revised the earlier policy which was sharply criticised by some states including Delhi's AAP government.
Three days after Centre had urged the apex court to adjudicate all the disputes relating to the guidelines, it informed a bench headed by Justice H L Dattu that the government has revised the guidelines itself and pleaded to withdraw the petition.
Placing before the bench its fresh notification, the government said allocation of domestic gas to GAIL for supplying entities for CNG (transport) and PNG (domestic) segment is increased to 8.32 MMSCMD (million metric standard cubic meters per day) with immediate effect.
It told that every efforts will be made to meet 100 percent of CNG (transport) and PNG (Domestic) requirement from domestic gas.
The bench thereafter allowed the government to withdraw its appeal.
With the Centre decided to rejig domestic gas supplies to raise allocations to fuel retailers in cities such as Delhi and Ahmedabad, CNG prices will be cut by a steep Rs 15 per kg and piped cooking gas by Rs 5.
Prices of CNG, or compressed natural gas, in the national capital had been hiked by Rs 4.50 last month to Rs 50.10 a kg after retailers such as Indraprastha Gas Ltd (IGL) were forced to buy a fifth of their gas (LNG) requirements from overseas.
The price increase led to protests from the newly elected Aam Aadmi Party-led Delhi government, forcing it to move the apex court challenging Centre's gas distribution policy.
Moving a contempt petition against the Secretary and Director of Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, the Arvind Kejriwal government had submitted that the guidelines is in violation of the apex court order which had directed the Centre to allocate CNG first to the transport sector.