Chennai: Minister of State in Prime Minister`s Office (PMO) V.Narayanasamy on Saturday avoided commenting on Oil Minister Dr. M. Veerappa Moily`s revelations that petroleum ministers are `threatened` by import lobbies for not taking decisions that will cut India`s $160 billion oil imports.
"I saw in the newspaper, Mr. Veerappa Moily, the Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas, made that observation. And this issue has to be addressed to him because he is the person concerned who has told it. Therefore, you have to address that issue to whom," he told the media here.
Dr. Moily, who has been under attack from the CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta for proposing to hike natural gas prices by 60 percent, on Friday told the media in New Delhi that he has been striving to attract investments in almost stagnant oil and gas exploration which will lead to higher domestic output and lesser reliance on imports.
"I am telling you with all sense of responsibility (that) we are floating in oil and gas in this country. And we don`t explore it. We put every obstruction not to do it. There is bureaucratic obstructions and delays," Dr. Moily said.
"And also there are other lobbies. They don`t want us to stop imports. There are some lobbies who are working on that. Every minister is threatened many a times. Every minister who occupies this position is threatened," he added.
Dr. Moily, however, refused to name anyone or identify anyone who may have directly or indirectly threatened the Petroleum Ministers.
"History will speak about it. It is for you to judge," he said.
Dr. Moily further said oil imports will rise dramatically if domestic production is not incentivized through right pricing policy.
"This (increase in oil imports) will work to the detriment of the country. We are challenged by the vagaries of international price. The revision in natural gas prices was aimed at reviving investor confidence and attracting investments," Dr. Moily said.
"For the last 4-5 years, investor sentiments are not that high. We have to give right price, otherwise nobody will come," he said.