- Dated 20.6.2013
RESPONSE TO MINISTER OF PETROLEUM,
MR. VEERAPPA MOILY’S STATEMENT
BY GURUDAS DAS GUPTA, MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT
Mr. Moily’s statement is misleading and malicious. I request him to kindly identify the vested interest I am representing.
The point in question is that Mr. Jaipal Reddy had issued the order imposing penalty on RIL for deliberately reducing the production level. It is amazing that he says that the file did not come to him. The matter was in the public domain. Everybody knew the penalty that had been imposed but the Minister who succeeds Mr. Jaipal Reddy does not know the matter. It is a deliberate ignorance to shift the burden on to his officers. It is all well known that Reliance refused to pay penalty, asked for arbitration. Even two arbitrators had been appointed by both the parties. Even lawyers have been appointed by the Ministry of Petroleum. In fact, the two judges were involved in discussion to nominate the third. Such a long, long process that has taken place during the time of his predecessor cannot be unknown to him. Government is a continuing process. When a new Minister takes office he must know what his predecessor has done. Mr. Moily in an interview to Economic Times on 23rd January, 2013 had made a statement. To quote, “The Government is thinking to junk the arbitration and start direct negotiations.” He further said that the government has a weak case in arbitration. If Minister speaks in this way, what is the message that goes to his officials? The most intriguing is that on the one hand he says that the file was not put up to him, on the other, he makes a public statement debunking arbitration. It is a case of cynical hypocrisy. Therefore, it is not a case of ignorance but a deliberate attempt to sabotage the process of realizing the penalty and undermining arbitration. The second question that arises is that why he has not given the notice for penalty for the year of 2012-13 when the production had further declined. In fact, if the calculation is correctly made, the penalty should have been 1.7 billion dollars.
Why he is closing his eyes to further sharp decline in the current year which is almost 19 per cent of the approved level of production.
In case of relinquishment of the area given to Reliance, the CAG asked for vacation of at least 50 per cent of the allotted area. The Director General of Hydrocarbon has submitted his report categorically stating that 83 per cent of the area should be surrendered. Why he has not taken any action so far. Why he is allowing Reliance to occupy 6000 sq. km area illegally.
In fact, the Minister in a statement published in a number of papers on 16th June, 2013 said that he will not be guided by technical advice but shall always favour production and investment. Here again he is speaking against relinquishment to favour the corporate raising the slogan of ‘improving production and investment.’
All of us would welcome massive investment in the oil and gas sector to make India self-reliant but that cannot be at the cost of loot of national resources.
Therefore, the collusion of the Minister with the corporate is clear. He wants to condone the criminality of underproduction and consequent damage to the Indian economy and allow the corporate to grab 6000 sq. km in violation of the contract.