Is the government being partial in its decision making when it comes to private companies than its own public sector undertakings?
Billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Logistics (Relog) Infrastructure Ltd has complained to the petroleum and natural gas minister, Veerappa Moily for “being treated differently” by his ministry that was “applying different standards” for his private company vis-à-vis state-owned GAIL, which is India’s leading gas pipeline construction and transmission company.
In a recent letter of January 8 to Moily, Relog said that the petroleum ministry had, citing in-ordinate delays, cancelled the permits of Relog to lay four cross-country natural gas pipelines traversing 2,175 kms while overlooking the same delays by GAIL in implementing the large pipeline project from Jagdishpur to Haldia.
Relog said in its letter: “GAIL’s Jagdishpur-Haldia pipeline, whose progress has been far behind Relog’s pipelines, appears to be treated differently by the petroleum and natural gas ministry.”
Relog said the authorisation to GAIL was given along with its four pipelines in 2007 on similar terms and conditions.
It alleged that during various joint review meetings, progress on Jagdishpur-Haldia Pipeline was reported to be substantially lagging behind the Relog pipelines.
“While GAIL has not made any significant progress on Jagdishpur-Haldia pipeline compared to Relog pipelines, their pipeline has not been rescinded,” the letter claimed.
It said that though Relog has completed all pre-project activities for its pipelines, they have been cancelled.
“On the other hand, (Gail’s) Jagdishpur-Haldia pipeline appears to be being treated differently,” the letter said.