SC directs Centre to submit affidavit within two weeks

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New Delhi | Published: September 7, 2017 2:30:07 AM

Government counsel cited EGoM’s 2013 decision that any additional gas would be allocated to the power sector to improve output only after fertiliser firms are taken care of.

Supreme Court, Centre, fertiliser unitsAlleging that gas was given to fertiliser units, the Association had moved the apex court seeking priority in allocation of gas produced from KG basin.

The Supreme Court has directed the Centre to file an affidavit within two weeks to explain what decision it has taken regarding allocation of gas produced from Reliance Industries-operated Krishna–Godavari (KG) basin to core areas, including the power sector.

A bench led by Justice A K Sikri sought the details from the government after senior counsel Vikas Singh, appearing for the Independent Gas-based Power Producers Association (IGPPA), argued that the government is yet to give a clarity on the gas availability to them.

Singh argued that the government had not responded to its representation in this regard.

Counsel Ritesh Kumar, appearing on behalf of the government, told the apex court that gas availability from KG basin, the country’s largest reservoir of gas, is as low as 5-6 mmscmd and its first priority is to supply gas to the fertiliser sector.

“After fulfilling total requirements of the fertiliser sector, then only power sector can be allocated gas.

“As of now, there is no question of gas supply to them,” he said.

He cited the now abolished empowered group of ministers’ 2013 decision and later the NDA government’s stand that any additional domestic gas would be allocated to the power sector to improve generation only after fertiliser companies are taken care of.

Alleging that gas was given to fertiliser units, the Association had moved the apex court seeking priority in allocation of gas produced from KG basin.

Even the Federation of Farmers Associations (FFA) had also filed a PIL backing the IGPPA demand.

The Andhra Pradesh High Court had in January 2015 refused to interfere with the government policy decision on the issue, saying that the Centre has powers to fix priorities as to which sector would get natural gas produced from the KG basin.

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