A ministerial panel is likely to meet on June 9 to consider allocation of natural gas from fields like Reliance Industries' KG-D6 and state-owned ONGC's C-Series to power plants. The empowered group of ministers on pricing and utilisation of gas headed by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee is scheduled to meet in second half of June 9 to consider giving gas for generating electricity to meet peak summer demand, sources in know of the development said. Power ministry has sought allocation of gas for nine power projects including NTPC's Kawas Station-II (1,200 mw), Gandhar Station-II (1,300 mw) and RGCCPP-Kayamkulam Station-II (1,050 mw). Also, Andhra Pradesh Power Generation Corp has sought about 9 million cubic metres per day of gas.
SC to hear plea against gutka, pan masala cos
The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear a plea against gutka and pan masala manufacturing companies for allegedly using plastic material in sachets in violation of its order banning use of such materials. The application, filed by an advocate alleged almost all the companies Pan Parag, RMD Gutka, Dilbag Gutaka, Rajashree Gutka, Rajdarabar Gutka are flouting the apex court order which had banned using of plastics in gutka and pan masala sachets after March 1. "Even long after the cut-off date of March 1, fixed by the Supreme Court, all the gutka and pan masala manufacturers are using plastic material in package sachets to sell such product to public. It is a deliberate and ingenious flouting of the law on their parts," advocate Abani Sahu, who filed the application, contended.
Chidambaram for more taxes on luxury items
Concerned over low tax-GDP ratio, home minister P Chidambaram has pitched for higher taxes on luxury products and imposing inheritance tax. Chidambaram had expressed these views at the full Planning Commission meeting headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last month. "We are really underestimating our capacity to raise resources, especially tax resources. Since non-plan expenditure is difficult to contain, the tax-GDP ratio must be raised especially by taxing conspicuous consumption and imposing inheritance tax," Chidambaram had said.
Plan panel asks CAG to audit scheme for Naxal-hit areas
The Planning Commission has asked government auditor CAG to conduct a special audit of the R3,300 crore plan for infrastructure development in the Naxal-affected districts. In a communication sent to the comptroller and auditor general of India (CAG) last week, the Plan panel has said the government auditor should ascertain whether the funds provided under the Central schemes have been properly utilised for development in the Naxal-hit areas. "We are yet to decide on the special audit," a CAG official said adding in any case, it picks up districts at random for the field inspection.
OVL to bid for stake in gas field in Russian Arctic
ONGC Videsh Ltd, the overseas arm of state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC), plans to submit a bid for taking a stake in Yamal gas field and the accompanying LNG project in the Russian Arctic. "OVL along with (state gas utility) GAIL India and Petronet LNG Ltd (the country's largest liquefied natural gas firm) plan to submit a non-binding bid for taking less than 20% stake in the Yamal project," OVL managing director Joeman Thomas said. The three-way joint venture plans to take stake in the entire value of the Yamal Project upstream gas field development, liquefication plant that will turn the gas into liquid fuel (LNG) for transporation by ships and evacuation to countries like India for sale.
India, Pakistan resume 12th round of Siachen talks
Defence secretaries of India and Pakistan on Monday kicked off the 12th round of talks after a gap of four years over the Siachen glacier, where troops have clashed intermittently for decades. The two-day meeting in New Delhi between defence secretary Pradeep Kumar and his Pakistani counterpart Syed Ather Ali is part of the slow-moving peace process aimed at bringing lasting stability in the region. The Indian side includes special secretary RK Mathur, director-general (military operations) Lt Gen AM Verma and the surveyor general S Subba Rao. The other members of the Pakistani delegation are Maj Gen Ashfaq Nadeem Ahmed, Maj Gen Munwar Ahmed Solehri and Maj Gen (retired) Mir Haider Ali Khan.