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With the forthcoming state elections expected to begin by September-end or October and the Election Commission effecting the model code of conduct for the same, chances are that the announcement of the new gas price may get deferred once again.
Elections are due in Haryana, Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Jammu and Kashmir by the end of the year.
“It is too early to comment as elections dates have not been announced....but no government can interfere with EC’s model code of conduct and so implementation of the price hike will depend on that,” said a petroleum ministry official.
Even earlier in the UPA government’s regime, the decision to implement a gas price hike from April 1 2014 was deferred after the EC imposed its model code of conduct and directed the government to defer the gas price hike till the end of general elections in May.
Petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan had last week informed the Rajya Sabha that the government will be ready with revised gas pricing next month and announce a new gas price by September end.
Pradhan had said that a decision will be taken keeping in mind the interest of investors and public and a new formula will be announced by September 30. Till then, the $4.2 per unit price was to continue.
The new gas price formula will be an alternative to the Rangarajan formula approved by the previous UPA government, under which domestic natural gas prices would have doubled to $8.4 per unit.
The gas price hike as proposed by the previous UPA government from April 1 was not undertaken by the NDA government after it got elected as the doubling of rates would have led to increase in cost of fertilisers, power and CNG. The government on June 25 postponed the implementation by a further three months pending a comprehensive review.