Political disinformation on gas pricing regrettable: RIL

Reliance Industries today hit out at the AAP for asking the Election Commission to put on hold the gas price revision due from April 1, saying the party was indulging in "political disinformation" on implementation of a Cabinet decision taken before the polls were announced.

In its third video uploaded on YouTube, RIL said the Cabinet had decided on June 27, 2013, to revise natural gas prices for public and private producers from April 1 and notified the decision on January 10, about two months before the schedule for general elections was announced on March 5.

"The Model Code of Conduct (for political parties) came into force on March 5," it said, adding that a Cabinet decision taken and notified months before the poll announcement "should have been implemented in a routine manner. But it is sought to be packaged into a controversy ensnaring the Hon'ble EC."

Without naming the Aam Aadmi Party, which questioned the motive of the government's move to almost double natural gas prices, RIL said, "A political party has written to the Election Commission (EC) to keep on hold a bona fide decision of the Union Cabinet on gas pricing. The party has a history of ill-informed diatribe. It is thus important to examine established conventions in this regard."

The company said no new decision that helps the ruling party in any manner can be taken after the model code of conduct (MCC) comes into force.

"But old decisions already taken by the state or the central government continue to be implemented," it said.

Old schemes such as the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act and Sarva Siksha Abhiyan, which are for the benefit of the masses, as well as contracts and projects like metro rail in some cities, which were awarded before the MCC kicked in, continue to be implemented.

The decision on gas pricing was taken as the present rate of USD 4.2 per million British thermal units for RIL's eastern offshore KG-D6 field are to expire on March 31, it said.

"Even a bare reading of this factual position leads to a simple conclusion: change in gas pricing from April 1 is not a new decision but only implementation of a cabinet decision taken in June 2013. The notification of the gas price is a mere formality and not a policy decision which will lead to any political benefit to an elected government and the Union Cabinet several months before MCC kicked in," RIL said.

"Ensnaring the Hon'ble EC in this pursuit of political disinformation is regrettable," it added.

The company asked if the AAP was not raising the issue for electoral gains.

"If they are raising it for electoral gains, then should it not be construed as violation of the MCC?"

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