Swaminathan Aiyar says that the prevailing gas price in the US is $3.70, much lower than what the government and Mukesh Ambani mandated price of $4.20 is. Strange? Begs the question - who is profiteering? In June 2008, Swami writes in the Times of India that the price of gas in the US was $13. One also needs to add that $4.20 excludes the transportation cost and other levies. Remember that the gas has to be brought onshore first before pipelines take it wherever...
Another top editor writing on the same page in ToI has torn into Murli Deora, sorry gaswale uncle. Quoting from extracts of the infamous Polyester Prince written by Hamish McDonald, M J Akbar has traced the genesis of Deora's relationship with the Dhirubhai Ambani. But he adds, "The past cannot be held against Deora's present." In an age where the price spiral of essential commodities continues unabated, Akbar makes a telling point, "This must be the first government that is determined on raising the price of a national asset that is in the private possession of Mukesh Ambani, rather than bringing it down, or indeed keeping it at a level that a private company offered and accepted as as part of a contractual agreement."
On Friday rising prices, Sharad Pawar claimed were due to the ever increasing cost of energy. Curious. One central minister wants to raise the price of energy - in this case gas - while another says that the price of energy is responsible for the price spike. Government working at odds, no? And whose interests does this gas price rise serve? Obviously Murli Deora's master Mukesh Ambani's. He pockets the money, not the government. The finance and power ministers are keeping quiet. Finance doesn't want to have anything to do with this unsavoury controversy because he wants to remain neutral while Power (under whom NTPC comes) remains powerless in this dispute. Akbar tells it like it is - Patriotism has clearly become the last refuge of Murli Deora.
Even at today's prevalent gas price of $3.70 in the US, Mukesh Ambani and mind you not the government is making a large profit. Fifty cents is the margin even at today's price of gas. Makes one wonder how the government or was it the oil ministry fixed $4.20 as the price of gas. Conventional economic logic be damned. People must pay more for their own national asset because Mukesh Ambani has to profit.