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Panel on Reliance gas row meets, but takes no decision

IANS  New Delhi, August 19, 2009
First Published: 20:21 IST(19/8/2009) | Last Updated: 20:32 IST(19/8/2009)

The ministerial panel set up to decide on the government's stand on the Krishna-Godavari gas row, will meet again on Thursday after an informal round of talks on Wednesday.


The high-level panel, consisting of Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Petroleum Minister Murli Deora, Law Minister Veerappa Moily and Power Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, met "informally", according to sources.

With no decision being reached on Wednesday, the ministerial panel is likely to meet again on Thursday.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had formed the panel to coordinate the government's legal stand over two overlapping disputes - supply of gas by Mukesh Ambani-headed Reliance Industries to Anil Ambani's Reliance Natural Resources, being heard in the Supreme Court, and between Reliance Industries and state-run power utility NTPC, which is being adjudicated in the Bombay High Court.

The panel also took the view that an elaborate guideline for the use of natural gas among various sectoral claimants is already in place and a future course of action should be built upon the same.

The petroleum ministry has also filed a special leave petition in the Supreme Court with the plea that Krishna-Godavari gas was national property.

In June, the Bombay High Court asked Reliance Industries to supply 28 million units of gas from the fields to Reliance Natural Resources for 17 years at $2.34 per unit.

But Reliance Industries challenged the verdict in the Supreme Court, which heard the case July 20 and fixed Sep 1 as the next date of hearing. The court also asked all parties to file their replies on the government position on the matter by then.

In an interview to a television channel, Shinde said a decision has not been taken on NTPC moving the Supreme Court on its dispute with Reliance Industries.

"My corporation (NTPC) is capable to take a decision (on the issue). It is the board of directors that will take decision on this account," he said.

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