Citizens' Issues
Anti-nuclear activist SP Udaykumar detained at Delhi airport

The immigration officials detained the activist at Delhi airport in response to a lookout notice issued by the superintendent of police in Tirunelveli


Anti-nuclear power activist SP Udaykumar was detained by the police at the IGI Airport in New Delhi on Tuesday. He was detained for questioning and then was not allowed to board his flight to Kathmandu, while on his way to attend a UN consultation on human rights.


The immigration officials detained him at the airport in response to a lookout notice issued by the superintendent of police in Tirunelveli. S P Udaykumar is widely known as the face of the agitation against the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project in Tirunelveli district, and the founder of the organisation People's Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE).


The Indian Expres quoted him as saying “I feel my human rights have been violated systematically by the state and I feel very frustrated in this land of democracy and freedom.” Numerour cases have been filed against Udaykumar in relation to his agitation against the nuclear power plant in Tirunelveli.


He has above 350 cases lodged against him including sedition, waging war against the state, laying seige through sea etc. As a result of these cases, his passport had been impounded by the local police. When he was asked for his passport at the airport on Tuesday he supplied his election ID and was subsequently questioned for over 4 hours.


When he was finally released he was told to not leave the country as a result of the pending cases against him in Tirunelveli.


Gas pricing formula: Committee submits its report to oil ministry

Though contents of the report have been kept under wraps, there are indications that the gas price increase may be around 50%


A four-member committee of secretaries has submitted its report on a new gas pricing mechanism, prescribing a rate much lower than the doubling of price approved by previous United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.


"The report was submitted on Tuesday," a top official said.


Last month, the Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government constituted a committee comprising of secretaries of power, fertiliser and expenditure with additional secretary in the oil ministry as its member secretary, to make amends to a formula notified in January that doubled the gas price to $8.4 per million British thermal unit (mmBtu).


The official said the report will be reviewed in the Oil Ministry before a note is moved to the Cabinet.


Though contents of the report have been kept under wraps, the official indicated that the price increase may be around 50%. Most of the domestically produced gas is currently sold at a price of $4.2 per mmBtu.


The panel has tried to strike a balance between demands for a market linked rate by gas producers to make marginal and deep sea fields economically viable, and consumers in power and fertiliser sector, who have said they cannot afford any rate higher than $5.


Though the government had stated that a gas price will be announced by September end, there are indications that a decision may be put-off until completion of assembly polls in Maharashtra and Haryana in mid-October.


Any increase, even of $2 per mmBtu, will lead to a hike in CNG price for automobiles, something the ruling establishment does not want on the eve of state polls.


Industry sources said the previous UPA government had notified the Rangarajan formula in January but before a rate could be implemented from 1st April, general elections were announced and Election Commission sought postponement of its implementation.


Since elections to Maharashtra and Haryana assembly have already been announced, a deferment can be sought on similar grounds.


An increase in gas price would have led to increase in cost of urea, power and CNG.


Every dollar increase in gas price will lead to a Rs1,370 per tonne rise in urea production cost and a 45 paise per unit increase in electricity tariff for just the 7% of the nation's power generation capacity based on gas.


Also, there would be a minimum Rs2.81 per kg increase in CNG price and a Rs1.89 per standard cubic metre hike in piped cooking gas.


The increase in gas price would bring windfall for the government -- about $2.08 billion or about Rs12,900 crore from additional profit petroleum, royalty and taxes accruing from doubling of gas rates, according to oil ministry estimates.




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Competition Commission rejects case against Ford India

Ford India increased price of its particular model in January, leading to the consumer accusing the carmaker abusing its dominant position


The Commission Commission of India (CCI) has rejected allegations against Ford India that it abused dominant position in the market for 'multi/sport utility vehicles'.


In an order issued on 12th September, the CCI, said, "The issue of abuse of dominance by the Opposite Parties (Ford India and its authorised dealer Harpreet Motors Pvt Ltd) does not arise and no case of contravention of provisions... of the Act (Competition) is made out against them."


Consequently, the CCI has closed the case against Ford India and its dealer.


In a complaint, one Sanjay Kumar alleged that Ford India has abused its dominant position in the relevant market of 'multi/sports utility vehicle in India' by hiking the price of the vehicle.


Kumar had booked a Ford Ecosport 1.5 Litre Petrol Ambiente version car manufactured by Ford India in June last year by paying an initial deposit of Rs50,000, from its authorised dealer Harpreet Motors. The car was to be delivered within five months of booking.


Subsequently, Kumar received a letter in December 2013 from Ford India stating therein to deliver the car before the end of February 2014 and the price of the car will be revised in January 2014 due to macro-economic factors and rising input costs.


Ford India accordingly revised the price of the said version of car to Rs6.19 lakh in January 2014 in place of Rs5.59 lakh at the time of booking.


Citing Ford India's December letter, the CCI said "it is evident that the informant (Kumar), if so desired, could cancel the booking and the entire booking amount is to be refunded immediately after waving of the cancellation charges."


"In these circumstances, no case, whatsoever, is made out against any of the Opposite Parties and the issues projected by the Informant at best appear to be purely consumer /contractual dispute, remedies whereof lie elsewhere," the Commission said.


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