The Centre’s decision to reduce the quota of gas to gas-based power projects in the State evoked sharp reaction from Opposition parties on Saturday, with the Telugu Desam threatening to stall Parliament on the ‘injustice’ and the CPI (M) seeking an all-party meeting on the issue.
Launching a broadside on the State government, senior TDP leader Devender Goud accused Congress leaders from the State of turning a blind eye and remaining silent over the diversion of gas meant for Andhra Pradesh to other States. He said the State was facing unprecedented power crisis and not even three hours of power was being supplied for agriculture as against the promised seven hours. The Centre reduced the quota of gas to the State by 2.20 mmscmd (million metric standard cubic metres per day) from August 1 to ensure additional supply to a fertilizer unit in Ratnagiri, Maharashtra.
The CPI(M) State secretary B. V. Raghavulu, in a letter to Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, urged him to convene an all-party meet and if necessary, lead an all-party delegation to the Centre. He wanted a struggle to be launched in view of the gravity of the situation and exert pressure on the Centre to protect State’s interests.
YSR Congress honorary president Y.S. Vijayamma, requested Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to immediately cancel the order issued by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas and warned that people of the State would have no choice but to take to streets for justice if the order was not cancelled.
In a letter to Dr. Singh, she said the EGOM was constituted to make an objective, fair and rational allocation of natural gas available from the D6 block of KG basin for various projects.
Demanding the cancellation of the orders, CPI activists took out a rally and burnt an effigy of Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde.
Congress leaders baffled
Meanwhile, the silence of Union Ministers representing the State and of the Congress Members of Parliament on the Centre’s decision to allot Reliance gas from KG basin to Ratnagiri fertilizer project in Maharashtra has baffled the ruling party leaders.
With as many as five Union Ministers including the lone Cabinet Minister S. Jaipal Reddy failing to react, eyebrows are being raised at their non-serious attitude.
The only semblance of protest came from Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, who wrote a letter to the Prime Minister seeking his intervention to bail the State out of power crisis.
He followed it up with a telephonic talk with Mr. Jaipal Reddy.
It was left to the Government Whip in Council Rudraraju Padmaraju to demand that the Prime Minister intervene and put on hold the decision to allot gas to Ratnagiri project.
Stating that it was a bolt from the blue for the State, which is already reeling under unprecedented power crisis, Mr. Padmaraju said the ruling party would be forced to join hands with the Opposition to launch an agitation.
He said it was unfortunate that Union Energy Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde decided to issue orders a day before he was shifted to Home Ministry.
A former Minister was quite critical of the attitude of the Union Ministers as well as the ruling party Members of Parliament.
“When utter injustice has been meted out to us, is it not their duty to raise the voice?” the senior leader remarked.
Another Congress leader said Parliament members could be reluctant to react on the issue as it involved Reliance Group.
Leaders wondered why the Union Ministers and MPs from Andhra Pradesh could not emulate their colleagues from neighbouring States, who were in the forefront to fight for their just rights.