NEW DELHI, 28 JUNE: Strongly opposing the Cabinet approval to nearly double the prices of natural gas from the next financial year as “irrational”, CPI-M today demanded the decision be kept in abeyance. The main benefit from the decision will accrue to a “single corporate house”, which is virtually “blackmailing” the country by keeping production of natural gas in a basin below the stated target till the price is increased, the party said in a statement. “The Politburo of the CPI-M strongly opposes the Cabinet decision to double the price of natural gas, a major input for the production of fertilisers and power, from $4.2 billion to $8 per mmbtu. “This will have a cascading impact increasing prices and burdening common people, while the main benefit will accrue to a single party,” the release said.
The party said the hike is irrational even in comparison to gas exporting countries, where the price of domestic gas is much lower. “For example, in Gulf countries, the price is only US$ 1 per mmbtu, in Egypt US$ 2.57, in Nigeria US$ 0.11 and in Indonesia around US$ 1,” the statement said.
“This government, which claims it does not have funds to ensure a universalised food security system, is prepared to subsidise the profits of a powerful corporate house. “Government will pass much of this burden to the common people. Farmers will have to pay more for fertilisers, the price of CNG gas used by public transport in many cities will also be hiked as will electricity tariffs,” it said. pti