Govt deferred decision on gas price hike due to elections, says Pradhan

The CCEA deferred a decision on revising natural gas prices by 45 days to 15th November due to elections, says Dharmendra Pradhan


The Indian government deferred an increase in natural gas price for a third time in view of next month’s Assembly elections in Maharashtra and Haryana.


The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on Wednesday deferred a decision on revising natural gas prices by 45 days to 15th November.


Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said, “It was done due to elections.”


He, however, did not say if the decision was postponed because of model code of conduct being in place or to avoid the fallout of the price increase on power tariff and CNG rates.


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 meter hike in piped cooking gas.


Assembly elections to the 288-member Maharashtra Assembly and 90-seat Haryana Assembly will be held on 15th October and the counting will take place on 19th October.


Apart from these states, bypolls will be conducted on the same day for five Assembly seats in five states —— Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Nagaland, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat.


By-elections for two Parliamentary constituencies in Maharashtra’s Beed and Odisha’s Kandhamal will also be held on 15th October.


The UPA Government had in June last year approved a price formula suggested by a panel headed by C Rangarajan and re-confirmed it in December 2013 with certain conditions for Reliance Industries’ eastern offshore KG-D6 block.


The formula was to be implemented from 1 April 2014 but before a rate could be notified, general elections were announced and the Election Commission asked the then government to defer it till the completion of polls.


On 25th June, the new BJP-led Government deferred it for a further three months as it found doubling of rates as per the approved formula unpalatable.


Earlier, Pradhan had told Parliament that a new gas price will be announced by September-end.


Father of comatose student waiting for justice even after 19 months

Parag Ingle, an 8th standard student of Loyola High School is in comatose state since 1 February 2013 after receiving a bullet injury during NCC firing practice session. His father, Devendra Ingle, is still running around to get justice and answers from authorities


Parag Ingle, an 8th standard from Pune's prestigious Loyola High School, received a bullet on his forehead. Amod Ghanekar, one of the junior officers of National Cadet Corps (NCC), fired with the 0.22 rifle during a firing training class on NCC grounds, grievously injuring Parag, who continues to be in a comatose condition, 19 months after the tragic incident that occurred on 1 February 2013. Devendra Ingle, Parag’s father, after running from pillar to post to get justice and answers from authorities, has filed applications under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

What’s shocking is that, the culprit, Amod Ghanekar has been seeking legal intervention ever since, pleading innocent and asking for discharge of cases against him terming the incident as accident and not deliberate attempt. After the Districts & Sessions Court rejected his appeal in February 2014, Ghanekar went to the Bombay High Court. It is only on Monday, 22 September 2014, that the Bombay High Court  dismissed his appeal and has given a green signal for conducting necessary investigations against him. A good 19 months have gone by and police investigations have virtually come to a halt due to this Court case. The NCC headquarter too is mum over this episode to the media as well as to an internal inquiry, if any, conducted.

Devendra Ingle, Parag’s father, an engineer working in the Pune Municipal Corporation, besides suffering the trauma of seeing his son in a distressing condition and the entire family helplessly playing the role of mere attendants to him at the Command Hospital is aghast. He is agonised about the injustice in terms of keeping him totally in the dark about the chronology of the untoward incident. Also, there is little action against Ghanekar, who has been suspended from the Zilla Parishad (he was deputed as a teacher to the Loyola School). Ghanekar is roaming free.

(Parag Ingle, before and after the incident)

Devendra Ingle, says “Since this incident is so tragic and my son is battling for life, I needed to know as to what action has been taken against the other NCC officers who were present at the spot on that fateful day and who permitted Ghanekar to illegally handle the pistol and fire. How exactly did the incident took place and when will Ghanekar receive appropriate punishment? All these times, attempts have been made to protect Ghanekar by stating that my child suddenly got up and therefore he received the bullet, despite the fact that there is evidence, which shows that Ghanekar had no authority to handle the pistol. The first six months passed by as we, as a family, were too traumatised to even find out what happened. Thereafter, I was aghast at the manner in which Ghanekar went to Court to relieve himself of the crime and the way authorities were least interested in investigating the case.”

Finally, after all attempts to get answers from NCC and Loyola school authorities failed, Ingle filed an RTI application last week to Additional Directorate General of Army Education, New Delhi seeking the following information:

“On 1 February 2013, at NCC Headquarters, Pune, my son NCC Cadet Mast. Parag Devendra Ingle was gravely injured when he was shot with Five bullets by a .22 Rifle. He is still unconscious. I would like to get all the information and papers regarding the action taken by the Army on all the Army Officers and In-charge person connected to this incident. I would also like to know the nature of punishment was given to the person responsible for this incident.’’

While an innocent child is in an unconscious state since the last 19 months, Ingle says that he is helpless that despite evidence against him, the authorities are sluggish in their action.  As per eye witnesses, about 46 boys of Std VIII and Std IX of Loyola’s High school were asked by NCC instructor Amod Ghanekar to position themselves on the ground for firing. He stood behind them with a .22 rifle to give a demonstration. Just when Ghanekar fired a round, Parag got up suddenly and turned back. He got hit in the forehead from a close range. Ever since, Parag lost consciousness. While rules do not permit anyone to fire from behind, Ghanekar as the junior officer of NCC is not even permitted to handle a pistol and fire.

As per the Deccan Gymkhana Police Station report: “without having any revolver license or having any authority to conduct firing, Amod Ghanekar stood behind the boys, handled the .22 rifle in an irresponsible manner, loaded and despite the knowledge that it would be grievous or fatal if any student suddenly got up, he fired. A bullet hit Parag on his forehead and he was grievously injured. Thus, it is an attempt to kill, by Ghanekar.”

Following queries, which were asked by the Deccan Gymkhana Police Station to the senior official of the NCC and the replies the police got also point out to the illegal handling of the pistol by Ghanekar:

Deccan Gymkhana Police Station to Col Officer Commanding, Maharashtra Signal Co. NCC, Col Rajesh Khosla:

Q: Does Amod Ghanekar, as ANO have the authority to handle the revolver and fire at the firing range on NCC grounds?

Ans: ANO (Associate NCC Officer)  AA Ghanekar is not authorized to fire during the firing practice of the cadets on the range…He is responsible for training and discipline of his cadets as per para 25 of NCC Act & Rules 1984 refers)

Q: Does Ghanekar have the right to himself fire from the revolver while the firing practice session is underway?

Ans: Every person on the range is expected to follow the laid down drills. AA Ghanekar has broken the range discipline and is responsible for his own action being the senior most on the range

Q. What are the responsibilities of Ghanekar?

Ans. Responsibility of ANO Amod Ghanekar : 1) enrolment of NCC cadets from his school; documentation of NCC cadets; Issuing them uniform; Training of NCC cadets placed under his command

Devendra Ingle said, “While the replies by Col Khosla clearly point out to Ghanekar’s dereliction of duty, when I requested NCC Director Brig Naresh Kumar on 12th June for permission to inspect the firing range and to know exactly the sequence of events that led to my son’s tragedy, I was denied permission and was instead asked as to why I need to find out.”

When Ingle sought permission from the Deccan Gymkhana police station to give him permission and show him how the incident took place, the police inspector sent him a letter on 27 June 2013, warning him that if he entered the premises, they will slap him with Section 149 of the IPC that prohibits unlawful assembly. “All I want is that officials should explain me the tragic incident from the site,” he says.

Devendra Ingle has sought a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) but no one’s paying any heed to his request. He compares Parag’s case to that of Pakistan’s 16 year old Malala Yousafzai, stating that she recovered as she was rushed abroad for surgery and adds, “the doctors at the Command Hospital have been very kind and concerned. I would like to have the status report of my child, which I can email to doctors abroad and check out if any advanced surgery can be done. Parag continues to respond to our talk and moves his fingers and toes at times.”

Generally, it has been apathy by every authority to dismiss this case as an accident. Ingle needs help and guidance from RTI experts to get sufficient information of his child’s health and to put pressure on authorities to take action against not only Ghanekar but every other officer involved directly or indirectly in this incident. ``Only then, my trauma will slightly decrease,’’ he say.

Do write to Moneylife in the 'comments' below or email to [email protected] as to what RTI applications should Devendra Ingle file to get justice and information from authorities.

(Vinita Deshmukh is consulting editor of Moneylife, an RTI activist and convener of the Pune Metro Jagruti Abhiyaan. She is the recipient of prestigious awards like the Statesman Award for Rural Reporting which she won twice in 1998 and 2005 and the Chameli Devi Jain award for outstanding media person for her investigation series on Dow Chemicals. She co-authored the book “To The Last Bullet - The Inspiring Story of A Braveheart - Ashok Kamte” with Vinita Kamte and is the author of “The Mighty Fall”.)




3 years ago

This is ridiculous!! That NCC officer should be shot dead with the same riffle. This will be the true justice. I have no idea about the legal matters of RTI and all but all I can say is that please do not lose courage and your son will surely be fine. Science is great.....


3 years ago

This is ridiculous!! That NCC officer should be shot dead with the same riffle. This will be the true justice. I have no idea about the legal matters of RTI and all but all I can say is that please do not lose courage and your son will surely be fine. Science is great.....

China hits back at Modi with 'Made in China' campaign

China government organisations are asked to implement new measures as soon as possible to arm "Made in China" with advanced technology and equipment, encouraging more competitive products with high added value


The Chinese government has launched a "Made in China" campaign with a host of tax concessions. This launch coincides with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "Make in India" pitch.


China will encourage high-tech imports, research and development (R&D) to upgrade 'Made in China', a decision by the Chinese central government said.


Under the new campaign China will use tax breaks to encourage enterprises to upgrade their equipment and increase R&D efforts to improve the manufacturing industry.


Companies that bought new R&D equipment and facilities after 1st January or possess minor fixed assets will have taxes reduced based on value, the Cabinet, presided over by Premier Li Keqiang, has decided.


Imported high-tech equipment will also enjoy tax deductions in aviation, bio-medicine production, manufacturing of railway and ships, electronics production including computer and telecommunications, instrument production and those used in making IT products and software, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.


The new decision coincides with the global launch of Modi's 'Make in India' campaign today.


The Indian Embassy, Consulates in Guangzhou, Shanghai and Hong Kong held special investment promotion events showcasing the 'Make in India' campaign.


China's new move aims to prompt technical improvement of companies, especially innovation of small and medium-sized enterprises, which in the last three decades propelled it to become world's second largest economy and made it a powerhouse of the manufacturing industry.


The cabinet asked government organisations to implement the new measures as soon as possible to arm "Made in China" with advanced technology and equipment, encouraging more competitive products with high added value, the report said.


China's manufacturing sector, a key driver of its economic growth, is regarded highly competitive in the global market.


Analysts believe the measures will not only start a new round of innovation but also spur fixed asset investment, and, in the bigger picture, contribute to stabilising economic growth.


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