Alleged irregularities in Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation’s KG basin gas project are the latest stumbling block in the functioning of Parliament’s Budget session.
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has called into question state PSU Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation (GSPC) investment of Rs 19,576 crore in its Krishna Godavari (KG) block project, saying “future prospects” of the block remain shrouded in “uncertainty”.
Modi as Gujarat Chief Minister in 2005 had announced that GSPC had struck 20 Trillion cubic feet of gas reserves in its KG basin block. But recoverable reserves have proved to just one-tenth of that and GSPC’s borrowings shot up to Rs 19,716.27 crore as of March 31, 2015, according to CAG report.
CAG, in its report painted a gloomy picture of GSPC’s finances, as its borrowing stood at Rs 19,716 crore as of March 2015, a jump of 177 per cent since 2011.
The government on its part has said that CAG reports are examined by Public Accounts Committees (PACs) of state assemblies and there was no convention to discuss those in Parliament.
Slamming Congress for its “diversionary tactics”, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said, “If the state PAC is discussing this issue, then there is no point that the centre does the same….At least maintain the federal structure of the country. The Parliament should not be discussing an issue that is there before state PACs.”
Jaitley went on to say, “In any oil or gas project, you explore at twenty places before the gas or oil is discovered. It is internationally certified that if the exploration takes place in deep sea, it will be more difficult. These challenges are natural in a gas exploration project.” “This is a diversionary tactic, because a TMC MP gave a notice on AgustaWestland, hence Congress is trying to make an issue out of a non-issue,” Jaitley hit out.
Countering this, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said “this allegation is not true. We had given notice for this 4-5 days ago.”
Deputy Leader of Congress Anand Sharma said his party wanted a discussion on the AgustaWestland issue also and was “not running away”.
(With inputs from PTI)