• Congress targets Modi over ‘plan to buy out GSPC’

    Congress on Tuesday targeted prime minister Narendra Modi, saying he had asked petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan to plan an Oil and Natural Gas Corporation buyout of loss-making Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation. “Who took this decision for ONGC to buy GSPC? When most experts say there is very little chance to extract any gas from GSPC’s reserves. Why should ONGC then buy GSPC?” Congress spokesperson Jairam Ramesh asked.

    “Why should ONGC take on GSPC’s loans of Rs 200 billion for something that is valued at a mere Rs 30 billion?” he asked. He said the Centre’s proposal was against 600,000 small shareholders of ONGC and 200 foreign and Indian institutional investors. The leader said that in 2005, the then chief minister of Gujarat, Modi, had claimed that GSPC had found 20 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of gas in Krishna-Godavari basin. After 11 years, it turned out only 1 tcf, he said. But based on the claim, 15 public sector banks had loaned Rs 200 billion to GSPC, which was now unable to service the debt, he added.

    He cited comptroller and auditor general that GSPC wasted taxpayers’ money through suspicious transactions with dubious companies in India, Yemen, Egypt, Indonesia, among others. Ramesh linked Modi with a corporate group asking why the petroleum ministry had asked Indian Oil Corporation and GAIL to invest in Adani Group’s liquefied natural gas project in Dhamra (Odisha) set up last year. Isaiah Pead Authentic Jersey

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