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.
Join the Conversation
- Image Of An Alien Revealed By US Intelligence Agent Suggests Existence Of Extraterrestrial Life -- Report
- US Police Release Video Of Officers Shooting 12-Year-Old Tamir Rice
- [In Pictures] Police Fire As Protest Turns Into ‘Riot’ After Grand Jury Decision on Ferguson Shooting
- New Zealanders in Australia Consider Moving Back to Home Country For Better Life
- NSW Girl, 12, Takes Wheel of Mazda MX5 & Saves Lives After Father Suffers Heart Attack
- Black Friday And Cyber Monday Sale 2014: AT&T's Cricket Wireless Offers Discounts On Lumia 1320, Galaxy S5, S4 And HTC Desire 510
- ISIS Kidnaps Iraqi Defence Minister’s Family, Executes Female Parliament Candidates
- '$2,000 For Sex'—Pleads Unlucky-in-Love Guy On OKCupid
- Target’s ‘Surprise Doorbusters’ Black Friday 2014 Deals On TV Sets, Entertainment Centres, DVD Players And More
- Google Joins Forces with GoPro Inc with New Google Maps Focusing on Destination
- Lumia Update Will Come Soon Confirms Microsoft
- T-Mobile’s Black Friday 2014 Deals On Apple iPhone 6, Samsung Galaxy Note 4/Edge, Nexus 6, HTC One M8, LG G3, iPad Air 2 And Mini 3