Staff Reporter

VISAKHAPATNAM: Forum for Better Visakha (FBV) convener and former Union Power Secretary E.A.S. Sarma has asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to protect public interest in pricing natural gas available in Krishna-Godavari basin.

Describing as significant the ruling by the Supreme Court, Mr. Sarma, a social activist, in a letter to Dr. Singh, stated he was very happy that the apex court unambiguously ruled that the Production Sharing Contract (PSC) with the private parties could not override the inalienable right of the State and the people of the country to the natural gas resources that belong to them.

“It is the duty of the Union to make sure that these resources are used for the benefit of the citizens of this country.

Due to shortage of funds and technical know-how the government has privatised such activities through the mechanism provided under the production sharing contract.

It would have been ideal for the PSUs to handle such projects exclusively,” he stated.

Mr. Sarma said the Central government in the wake of the latest court ruling, should not abandon its own obligation to exercise due diligence and prudence in fixing the price of gas.

Enclosing a copy of the letter he had sent to the PM dated August 22 last, he said the same issues he had raised were still relevant.

The price fixed by the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGOM) was based on a contrived bidding format that was more beneficial to RIL than the public.

The present arrangement of the EGOM administratively fixing the price goes against all canons of competitive price fixation.