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Arvind’s letter to EC on Gas pricing issue
Mr VS Sampath
Chief Election Commissioner
Election Commission of India
Sub : Request for EC intervention to put on hold the government’s decision to double the gas prices.
I would like to draw your attention towards an extremely important issue concerning the people of the country. The central government has decided to increase the price of natural gas from April 1 from the existing $ 4.2 per mmbtu (One million British Thermal Unit) to $ 8.4. This policy decision, which the government is set to implement from April 1 is a clear violation of the Model Code of Conduct, since it is directly aimed at providing huge financial benefits to Reliance Industries Limited and falls within the ambit of corrupt practices during the elections.
It is estimated that the government decision is likely to cost the country Rs 54,500 crore every year and it must be probed by the EC how much money has been provided by the RIL to the Congress and other parties for spending in the elections.
It has been reported in the media the Planning Commssion Deputy Chairperson, Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia on March 11, 2014, told the government that it must seek the Election Commission’s approval before announcing and implementing the new price. The central government’s decision will have an adverse impact on the lives of common people since it will lead to increase in fuel costs and transportation. In addition, prices of fertilizers will also go up, which will make all essential commodities costly.
I wish to reiterate that the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) tabled in parliament on September 7, 2011, had questioned the government’s handling of the entire issue. An FIR was registered by the Anti Corruption Wing of the Delhi government on February 11, 2014, for the alleged collusion between some ministers of the central government and the RIL in raising the gas prices in an unjustified manner.
The Supreme Court is currently hearing the matter and I would request you to direct the central government not to implement its decision till the election process in the country gets over, since it will affect a very large section of the population.
The Aam Aadmi Party seeks urgent intervention of the Election Commission to prevent the UPA’s central government from implementing an anti-people decision at this critical juncture.
National Convenor, Aam Aadmi Party
Dated : 20/03/2014