New Delhi, Feb 24 IANS | 5 months ago

The Congress Monday backed the government on its decision to hike natural gas price from $4.2 to $8.4 million British thermal unit from April, and dismissed allegations about any outside influence in decision-making.


Party spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said the cabinet has taken the decision to raise gas price after deliberations, and in the interest of the country.

"The cabinet took the decision which was proclaimed through the minister. That decision stands today," Singhvi said.

The government in June 2013 approved the new price for all types of domestically produced gas at an average of the cost of LNG imported into India and international hub, or market rates - a formula suggested by the C. Rangarajan Committee constituted by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to look into issues concerning the oil and gas sector.

Singhvi criticised Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal, who has written to Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on the gas pricing issue.

He said some parties had become habituated to making allegations.

Kejriwal has shot a missive to Gandhi on the hike in gas price.

Kejriwal alleged that Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Industries had already secured a higher price of over $4 per unit for natural gas by using questionable means, as against the cost of $1 per unit and an agreed price of $2.3 per unit, and the union government has decided to hike it further to $8.4 per unit.

At a rally in Haryana's Rohtak Sunday, Kejriwal criticised Rahul Gandhi and Bharatiya Janata Party's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi over the gas pricing decision.

Singhvi said the AAP was making baseless allegations concerning the Congress and was "puffing in the air".

"They are unable to rule so they substitute it with politics of blame," he said.

Referring to a former journalist who has been fielded by the AAP for the Lok Sabha elections, Singhvi said the party can say that he worked in a channel in which Mukesh Ambani had made a significant investment.

"There is need to be responsible, reasonable and restrained," Singhvi said.

(Posted on 24-02-2014)