The Communist Party of India (CPI) has asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to withdraw his government’s decision on fixing gas prices from $4.2 to $8.4 per million British thermal unit. This decision was taken despite opposition from Left parties and even some Cabinet Ministers.
In a letter to Dr. Singh, CPI general secretary S. Sudhakar Reddy has said that the pretext taken is that the decision will boost investment in the gas extraction. “This is a strange argument. The price increase will be a burden on people to pay Rs. 16,000 crore for every additional dollar increase of gas price every year in fertilizers and power sectors alone. This is done to satisfy the RIL gas company who wilfully reduced gas production to 19 per cent in KD-6,” the letter said while asking Dr. Singh to reconsider and withdraw this decision.
Why in Dollars?
Another important point raised by Mr. Reddy is that why was the price of the gas produced in India by our companies with some foreign companies’ collaboration being fixed in US Dollars than in Indian rupees. “This looks very illogical,” the letter said while suspecting a deep conspiracy behind this method being adopted.
“After your decision to raise the gas price to $ 8.4, the rupee value is fast shrinking. Already there is a fear that petroleum products and all important goods are going to be much costlier. Rupee has depreciated by 13 per cent since May. Travel and education will cost more. Deficit financing will increase. The gas which is produced in India is becoming costly with every fall in the value of the rupee,” the letter said.