India Orders Gas Price Rises be Backdated to April 1
May 2, 2014 2:14 PM EST
Oil minister M. Veerappa Moily has ordered that increases in gas prices, put on hold by the election authorities, be backdated to April 1, in a directive that has drawn criticism from a rival politician.
A technician opens a pressure gas valve inside the Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) group gathering station on the outskirts of Ahmedabad March 2, 2012.
A price increase was to come into effect just days before India started voting in the polls that got underway on April 7 and run to May 12. But the Election Commission in March unexpectedly requested a deferral.
The cabinet last year approved a formula linking prices of locally produced gas to global benchmarks, that could have nearly doubled prices from the current $4.20 per million British thermal unit. A rise would benefit top producers Reliance Industries and Oil and Natural Gas Corp.
"When the proposal came to me, I rightly ordered that after the model code of conduct is lifted, (the) price may be announced for the quarter July-September and also for the quarter April-June, as per the approved guidelines by the cabinet," Moily said in a statement on Thursday.
The model code of conduct is a set of election rules that restricts government decisions that might unduly influence the country's 815 million voters.
Rival politician Gurudas Dasgupta, an opposition communist, wrote to the commission urging it to ask the oil secretary to refrain from any retroactive price hike.
Leaders such as Dasgupta and Arvind Kejriwal, the head of anti-corruption Aam Aadmi Party, say that the new prices are intended to unduly benefit Reliance, controlled by the country's richest man, Mukesh Ambani.
Moily and Reliance deny the allegations.
Demand for gas in India far outstrips domestic supply, but the government has kept prices below global market levels for producers of fertilizer and electricity, deterring investment in domestic exploration and production.
India's main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), widely expected to win the most seats in the election and oust Moily's Congress party-led government, has said it would review the gas pricing formula if elected.
Most Popular Slideshows
- George Clooney And Amal Alamuddin's Wedding In Venice: Photos Of Groom And His Family, Friends [Slideshow]
- NFL Recap - Week 4: Green Bay Packers 38, Chicago Bears 17 [PHOTOS]
- NFL Recap: New York Giants 45, Washington Redskins 14 [PHOTOS]
- Photos Of George Clooney And Amal Alamuddin, They Get Married Again On Monday [Slideshow]
Join the Conversation
- Pregnant Kate Middleton Reportedly Prohibits Camilla Parker-Bowles From ‘Seeing Her Family’ And Newborn
- Ebola in US: Stock Surge for Pharmaceutical Companies Working on Vaccine
- Kate Middleton And Prince William Have Chosen The Name Of Their Second Child- Details
- Local Syrians Have Mixed Reactions To US Airstrikes Against ISIS; Opposition 'Suspicious'
- Melbourne Wakes Up To Anti-Terror Raids: Seabrook Man Arrested For Funding Terrorist Organisation
- 3 Reasons to Get the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Instead of the iPhone 6
- iPhone 6 vs Moto G 2014: Motorola’s Budget Smartphone Takes On Apple’s Premium Smartphone
- Google HTC Nexus 9 Tablet October 24 Launch Date Benefits Many
- Galaxy Note 4 vs Nexus 6: Which Smartphone Dominates
- MH 370 Search In Ocean To Intensify With Hi Tech Ships Joining The Plane Hunt From October
- Nexus 7 Tips and Tricks
- New Windows OS Is Not Windows 9, Microsoft To Launch Windows 10 As New OS Build