Deora says nothing to do with Ambani feud

Last Updated: Tuesday, August 4, 2009 - 00:49

New Delhi: Petroleum Minister Murli Deora,
who has been under attack in the Ambani brothers`
dispute, on Monday said the government had nothing to do with it
but an unsatisfied Samajwadi Party stepped up its campaign
against him demanding his resignation and a JPC probe.

Making a statement in the Lok Sabha, Deora rejected
allegations of bias in favour of Mukesh Ambani in the tussle
over gas allocation and insisted the government would do
everything to protect its legal right to regulate usage of
gas.
Responding to Samajwadi Party`s complaint that gas was
not being allocated to Anil Ambani`s proposed Dadri plant in
Uttar Pradesh, Deora said it would be considered along with
other such projects.

"We have nothing to do with the private dispute of two
industries or industrialists. However, we have everything to
do with protecting the interests of the government and public
interest. This is our constitutional and legal obligation,"
the Petroleum Minister said against the backdrop of allegation
by SP that he was discriminating in favour of Mukesh Ambani.

Anil Ambani group firm RNRL`s Dadri power plant "is
neither installed nor functional," he said, adding it would be
treated "on the same footing as other similar plants."

Not satisfied with Deora`s statement, SP members rushed
to the well of the House creating a din but Speaker Meira
Kumar continued with the day`s business that saw introduction
of a few bills before the House was adjourned for lunch.

The SP members repeatedly disrupted the House
proceedings, leading to several adjournments and finally for
the day.

The SP chief alleged the Petroleum Minister was
"conniving" with "one person" and said "why is the Dadri
project not being allowed to be set up? Why gas is not being
supplied?"

He said the "kind of connivance" he was alleging could be
detected "only through a probe" and demanded an all-party
committee be set up for this purpose.

Later, over a dozen SP MPs and party general secretary
Amar Singh wrote separately to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
raising questions over the functioning of Deora and demanding
his resignation, a CBI inquiry and setting up of a Joint
Parliamentary Committee to probe the denial of gas to NTPC.

Alleging a "gigantic scam" behind it, Singh said the
minister`s actions had led to "scuttling the future of NTPC by
denying it gas for its Kawas and Gandhar plants at 2.34 US
dollar per unit".

They alleged Deora`s actions would also result in a loss
of Rs 30,000 crore for NTPC and lead to high cost of power
produced by it which would be passed on to common man.

Meanwhile, Anil Ambani has blamed RIL for the delay in
the Dadri plant saying the Mukesh Ambani-run company is
deliberately keeping gas output down to keep prices high.

Reacting to Deora`s assertion in Parliament, he said:
"Dadri is not operational due to RIL`s malafide intentions."
RIL, he said, had not given his group firm a bankable
fuel supply contract.

On Deora`s remarks that RIL`s KG-D6 fields was
producing 31 million standard cubic metres daily, Anil said
production was deliberately kept low because of lack of demand
for the gas whose delivered price comes to over USD 7 per
mmBtu.

He renewed his demand for public audit of RIL`s KG-D6
field costs and immediate reduction in the gas transportation
tariff charged by a Mukesh Ambani-owned firm that transports
gas from east coast to the west.

Ambani welcomed Deora`s statement that the government
had nothing to do with the private dispute between
industrialists or individuals, and said the Petroleum Ministry
should limit its stand before the Supreme Court only to the
interpretation of the Production Sharing Contract.

Bureau Report



First Published: Tuesday, August 4, 2009 - 00:49

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