Chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy’s initiative in meeting the Prime Minister to put forward the case of the state for gas allocation has paid off. Manmohan Singh on Tuesday gave instructions to the Union ministries of Petroleum and Power to restore to Andhra Pradesh the 2 mmscmd gas that was cut from its quota to ensure adequate supply to the Ratnagiri power plant in Maharashtra.
That the Centre would take a positive decision became evident Monday night when Kiran Kumar Reddy, after conferring with the Prime Minister, said that he was very hopeful of getting the state’s supply restored. The expectation grew Tuesday afternoon when petroleum minister S Jaipal Reddy said an outcome would come out of the chief minister’s meeting that would do a whale of good for the state.
Jaipal, who on Monday seemed sceptical of the restoration of gas, said Tuesday that the state would get either gas or additional power. According to APTransco sources, the order issued by the Prime Minister would come into force with immediate effect.
Manmohan Singh reportedly took the decision in favour of the state after the intervention of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi. After meeting the Prime Minister, the chief minister met Sonia Gandhi and sounded an SOS to her. Sonia Gandhi listened to him at length and is understood to have directed the Prime Minister to restore the supply.
“Winning a contest with the north Indian lobby, particularly that of Maharashtra headed by Sushil Kumar Shinde is very difficult. It became possible only because of the intervention of Sonia Gandhi,” sources said. In Hyderabad, Kiran Kumar expressed his thanks to both Sonia Gandhi and the Prime Minister for restoring the status quo.
Another factor that tilted the scales in favour of the state were the arguments built up by Kiran Kumar in defence of the state’s interests. The chief minister reportedly told Singh that Maharashtra could do with buying power from the open access system or buying RLNG (regasified liquefied natural gas) and generate power, which would work out to Rs 6 to Rs 7 per unit.
But for Andhra Pradesh, if ti has to use RLNG, the cost would go upto Rs 9.06 per unit, making it very expensive.
The total installed capacity of gas based power stations in the state is 3,356 mw. Of this, 2,000 mw capacity was already lying idle for want of gas before the Centre decided to reduce gas supply by a further 2 mmscmd. The supply before the reduction was 3.48 mmscmd against the 9.16 mmscmd promised, which too would not have been enough as it would meet only 75 per cent of the requirement.
The state had been getting only 3.48 mmscmd as the Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) reported a fall in generation of gas from its D 6 well in the Krishna Godavari Project.