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Chidambaram defends new gas price to producers

business Updated: Mar 31, 2014 19:19 IST

IANS
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The new price approved by the cabinet for domestically produced natural gas is the right decision, finance minister P Chidambaram said in New Delhi on Monday.

"It has taken into account all pros and cons, including the reservations expressed by different ministries. The cabinet decision is the right decision," Chidambaram told reporters.

Clarifying that a decision approved twice by the cabinet was referred to the Election Commission only from abundant caution about not violating the poll code of conduct, Chidambaram warned of the consequences of not implementing it.

"For every unit of gas that we do not produce, it doesn't mean we can live without gas. Today we're importing one unit of gas at a much higher price that the approximately $8 we have indicated from 1st April, 2014," the finance minister said.

The EC last week asked the government to defer notifying the new, and likely doubled, price of natural gas produced by companies such as Reliance Industries (RIL) till after the general elections are completed.

The new gas price approved by the cabinet and based on a formula suggested by the C. Rangarajan Committee would result in a doubling of the current rate of $4.2 per unit, that for RIL gas expires on March 31.

Petroleum minister M Veerappa Moily also warned last week that deferring the price hike will have a big impact on the investment climate, and would result in the petroleum subsidy going up if production is hit.

The nation's solicitor-general or attorney-general would examine the EC order, he added.