The Centre remained indifferent to the Andhra Pradesh Government’s plea for withdrawal of its order diverting two million metric standard cubic metres per day (MMSCMD) of natural gas from the Krishna-Godavari Basin to the Ratnagiri power plant in Maharashtra.

Union Petroleum Minister S. Jaipal Reddy today refused to intervene or even speak on the controversial decision, even as the principal opposition Telugu Desam Party blasted both the Centre and the State Government for jeopardising Andhra Pradesh’s interests.

The Union Minister, who represents Chevella Lok Sabha constituency in Andhra Pradesh, declined to speak to the media even as he told a State Government delegation led by the Roads and Buildings Minister Dharmana Prasada Rao last night to knock on the Prime Minister’s doors to sort out the issue.

Ironically, the State Government was clueless about the Centre’s move (on diversion of gas to Maharashtra) even as it had been making repeated pleas for allocation of additional gas for the power plants that had been working with load factor of only about 30 per cent for several months now due to short supply of fuel.

According to the Centre’s order that came into effect from August 1, Andhra Pradesh will now get only 1.48 MMSCMD of gas from Reliance’s D6 wells as two MMSCMD will be diverted to Ratnagiri.

Due to the cut in gas supply, power generation from gas-based plants will go further down by 400 MW and push the State into more darkness.

While the total installed capacity of gas-based power plants was 2,700 MW, they had been producing only about 1,100 MW due to scarcity of fuel and now the generation would go down further to about 700 MW, official sources pointed out.

TDP Rajya Sabha member T. Devender Goud lashed out at the Centre, saying Andhra Pradesh’s interests were “mortgaged” to supply gas to Maharashtra.

“How could they (Centre) divert gas from the KG Basin to other States without fulfilling the requirements of Andhra Pradesh? This happened only because of the inefficiency of the State Government as well as the Congress MPs,” he said.

Goud threatened to stall the monsoon session of Parliament if the decision effecting cut in gas supply is not recalled.

“How could they leave the power plants in Andhra Pradesh starving for fuel when the State is reeling under a severe electricity crisis,” the MP said.

Congress MPs, however, are putting up their own defence on the issue. “Did the Chief Minister ever discuss the issue with us in detail? He never took us into confidence and he himself used to speak with Jaipal Reddy and others in the Central Government. So why blame us?” an MP from Telangana region questioned.

Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy’s letters to the Prime Minister and the Union Ministers for Power and Petroleum on the issue late last night have not received any response so far.

The Chief Minister’s Office has remained silent on the issue.

(This article was published on August 4, 2012)
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