Pvt power cos ask oil ministry to re-allocate non-core sector gas

In a letter to minister of petroleum and natural gas Jaipal Reddy, Association of Power Producers director general Ashok Khurana requested the government to “consider discontinuing gas to non-core sectors and use the same for core sectors, namely power and fertiliser”

New Delhi: Private power producers are lobbying hard with the petroleum ministry for re-allocation of natural gas currently supplied to non-core users like refineries and steel plants to their units, reports PTI.

In a letter to minister of petroleum and natural gas Jaipal Reddy, Association of Power Producers (APP) director general Ashok Khurana requested the government to “consider discontinuing gas to non-core sectors and use the same for core sectors, namely power and fertiliser”.

Currently, over 18 million metric standard cubic metres per day (mmscmd) of natural gas is being supplied to non-priority/core sectors, the head of the body representing private electricity generators said in the letter.

Gas-based power projects with a generation capacity of about 4,000MW are ready to commence power generation before 31 March 2012, and are awaiting gas allocation by the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGOM), he said.

Public money in the form of debt provided by various Indian banks and financial institutions is at a grave risk unless these projects start commercial operation by 31 March 2012, he added.

Total gas-based power capacity in India amounts to 16,600MW and these plants currently consume 66 mmscmd of gas. The average capacity utilisation of these plants is around 70%.

The body also suggested that, “If the capacity utilisation of all these power plants is rationalised at 60% or so, about 80 mmscmd of gas will get released, which can be allocated to upcoming projects.”

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India passing through difficult times: PM

“We hope to bring back the rhythm of our growth process to sustain an annual growth rate of 9%-10% in the medium-term. Our domestic savings rate which currently stands at 33%-35% of our GDP will greatly facilitate the realisation of our growth objectives”, said prime minister Manmohan Singh

Jaipur (Rajasthan): Noting that the country is passing through “difficult times”,
prime minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday said in the current fiscal the growth rate will be 7% but was optimistic that the economy will return to a higher trajectory of 9%-10% in the medium term backed by strong fundamentals, reports PTI.

“Our country is going through difficult times ... We are up to the task of meeting these challenges we face as a nation”, he said while addressing the 10th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas being attended by over 1,900 overseas Indians.

Despite an adverse international environment, Mr Singh said, “the Indian economy is expected to grow by about 7% this financial year ending 31st March”.

The country recorded a gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate of 8.5% in 2010-11 and was initially estimated to grow by 9% in the current fiscal. The growth rate projection, however, was scaled down gradually by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) as well as the finance ministry.

The prime minister, however, exuded confidence that growth rate in the coming years would go up to 9%-10% as the “economic fundamentals are strong and ...

constitutional processes are robust”.

“... we hope to bring back the rhythm of our growth process to sustain an annual growth rate of 9%-10% in the medium-term. Our domestic savings rate which currently stands at 33%-35% of our GDP will greatly facilitate the realisation of our growth objectives”, he said.

Mr Singh also said that efforts to combat inflation have started yielding results and there has been an improvement in the situation.

Fulfilling a long-standing demand, Mr Singh said a pension and life insurance scheme for overseas Indian workers is being introduced. This will benefit over 5 million workers, especially those in the Gulf. The scheme was recently cleared by the Union Cabinet.

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