GUWAHATI, Jan 10 � Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi today said that the Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Murli Deora has assured to consider the request of the State Government to make operational the provision of fixing natural gas price for the NE region at 60 per cent concessional rate over the fixed price as per the Petroleum Ministry�s notification. The said notification, while announcing hike in natural gas price from Rs 3,200 to Rs 8,773 per cubic metre, mentioned of the above concessions for the NE states.
Addressing a press conference here this afternoon, the Chief Minister said that the sudden hike in the prices of natural gas by Oil India Ltd (OIL) is going to have an adverse impact on the financial health of the Assam Petrochemicals Ltd and Assam Gas Company Ltd, which are profitable State Government undertakings. These companies, located at a remote corner of the country, already have to bear heavy overhead expenditure in sectors like transportation of their finished products.
Therefore, the Chief Minister told the newspersons that he had to request the Union Petroleum Minister Murli Deora to issue necessary direction to make natural gas available to the consumers of the NE region at the above concessional price. The recent hike in the natural gas price has been worked out to be 174 per cent on the earlier price of Rs 3,200 per cubic metre, said the Chief Minister in his communication to the Petroleum Minister.
The Chief Minister also made pleas with the Prime Minister, Union Railway Minister and Union Agriculture Minister to ameliorate the railway freight carriage system by inducting at least 94 BG rakes per month, with an average of three to four rakes per day, to fulfil the need following the increased public distribution system (PDS) allocations since September, 2010.
He pointed out that during the last four months there has been a shortfall of 67 rakes of rice and 44 rakes of wheat.
The shortfall was more acute in November and December 2010. The rate of loading of rakes for Assam has been less than two rakes per day from September 2010, which does not adequately meet the State�s requirements.
It is, therefore, important that such loading should be raised to five rakes per day for at least one month to meet the urgent requirement of the State, said the Chief Minister in his communications to the Prime Minister and the Union Railway and Agriculture Ministers.
The Chief Minister linked up the sharp rise in essential commodities in the State to the shortfall in railway rakes for transportation of such items.
Any sharp rise in the prices of essential commodities caused by the shortfall in railway rakes induction will surely have negative impacts in the coming Assembly elections, he warned, hinting at the bleak electoral prospect of the Congress, without naming it, if the phenomenon of price rise continues.
He also pleaded for enhancement of the rate of transshipment at Rangiya and Lumding BG-MG terminals. The monthly requirement of rakes in the MG section is 20 at Rangiya and 11 at Lumding, he said.
Besides, he said, introduction of two-point placement of rakes at Kokrajhar-Gossaigaon, New Bongaigaon-Barpeta Road, Changsari-New Guwahati, New Guwahati FCI Siding- New Guwahati Railway Yard, Haibargaon-Hojai, Jorhat-Furkating and Jorhat-Tinsukia for early release of rakes, should also be done as per the suggestion of the Food Corporation of India�s regional office.