Hidden agenda is to privatise cooking gas distribution; prices to be burdensome
Mysore/Mysuru: The ‘direct to home’ piped gas project is not an ambitious and people-friendly project launched by the Centre. Rather it is a project that comes with a handsome commission for which the BJP elected representatives are squabbling in public, alleged Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) Spokesperson M. Lakshmana. The project has sparked a row among the BJP leaders with MLAs L. Nagendra and S.A. Ramdas who have raised questions over road damage to lay the pipeline, much to the chagrin of Pratap Simha, a staunch supporter of the project.
Addressing a press meet at Congress Bhavan here yesterday, Lakshmana launched a tirade against Pratap Simha and the MLAs for fighting to pocket commission provided by the gas pipeline company. “The Centre has handed over the project to 17 companies and the ultimate aim is to privatise gas distribution. In Mysuru alone, the project entails an expenditure of Rs. 700 crore and Pratap Simha has got 10 percent commission and this is being hotly discussed in public,” he alleged.
“The street fight between the MP and his own party MLAs is aimed at pocketing maximum commission in the name of implementing the project. In the end, cooking gas will be privatised and this is their hidden agenda. Now the price of a 14.2 kg cylinder of cooking gas is already nearing Rs. 1,000 and the Government has started the process of withdrawing subsidy on LPG,” he said.
Pooh-poohing the claims of the MP that once the gas supply begins, the consumers will get gas for Rs. 500, Lakshmana said that an initial deposit of Rs. 6,000 has to be paid per household and other overhead expenses will total up to Rs. 7,154.
“If the bills are not paid on time, the connections will be cut and the pricing will depend on the whims and fancies of the gas company and they will extract money to make more profits. Also, the consumers will have to cough up a fee for reconnection after the supply is restored,” he charged. Terming the MP’s assurances as false and misleading, Lakshmana wondered why the MP is hell bent on supporting a private company and what were the stakes involved.
“When former DC Rohini Sindhuri said that the MP was extracting commission from certain COVID Care Centres, Pratap Simha got the upright officer transferred from Mysuru. When the Police wanted to file an FIR against Jubilant Pharma Company in Nanjangud, the same MP prevented the Police from doing so,” he alleged, demanding an explanation from the MP.
Call for public debate
Calling for a public debate on the pros and cons of the gas pipeline project, the KPCC Spokesperson said that many aspects and implications of the project have been hidden from the public and there was no transparency. “Why is there a hurry to execute such an ambiguous project? What are the personal interests behind the project, let there be a discussion,” he said.
Training his guns on Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, Lakshmana said that Bommai’s sole achievement in six months was the reshuffle of District Ministers.
“Corruption has reached its top level and the CM is busy advertising false assurances and dubious schemes that will help the BJP further loot the exchequer. We all know how the Government looted the treasuries in the name of fighting COVID-19,” he said.