New Delhi: CPI on Saturday demanded withdrawal of recent decision to double the gas prices and asked the government to fix the rate in Indian rupees rather than in US dollars.
Maintaining that the Cabinet decision to hike gas prices from USD 4.2 to USD 8.4 per unit would increase the burden on the people, CPI General Secretary S Sudhakar Reddy claimed that the decision was taken "despite opposition from Left Parties, your allies and even your cabinet ministers."
In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, he alleged that the government`s decision was taken "to satisfy RIL gas company which willfully reduced the gas production to 19 per cent in KG6 (basin). We urge upon you to reconsider and withdraw this decision."
Terming as "strange" government`s argument that the move would boost investment in gas extraction, he said "the price increase will be a burden on people to pay Rs 16,000 crores for every additional dollar increase of gas price every year in fertilizes and power sectors alone."
Reddy also asked as to why the price of "gas produced in India by our companies with some foreign companies collaboration is being fixed in US dollars rather than in Indian rupees. This looks very illogical. The price from beginning is in dollars. It looks that there is a deep conspiracy behind this method adopted."
Noting that the rupee value was "fast shrinking" and had depreciated 13 per cent since May, he said this would not only raise petro product prices, but education and travel would cost more too and deficit financing would increase.
"The gas which is produced in India is becoming costly with every fall in the value of rupee. One corporate house Nawab enjoys the profits at the cost of `aam aadmi`. This is unacceptable," he said in the letter.
"I urge upon you to reconsider the whole decision and instruct that the price of the gas produced in India should be fixed in Indian currency, to save the nation from further loot," Reddy said.