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The oil ministry will declare new gas prices only after the Election Commission (EC) formally notifies the election result that is expected on May 17, senior government officials said.
"According to EC, new gas prices will be announced only after election code of conduct is lifted. The code of conduct is in force until EC formally notifies the election results, which is likely on May 17 or May 18," a senior government official with direct knowledge of the matter said.
A senior EC official said that the election results would be formally notified latest on May 17, a day after the counting.
According to a recent PTI report, Reliance Industries ( RIL ) had asked the oil ministry to announce the new natural gas price immediately after polls end on May 12. The counting is scheduled on May 16.
The new gas price formula, which was approved by the cabinet last year, would almost double its rate to $8.40/unit from April 1. According to the formula, gas prices will change every quarter depending on fluctuations in international benchmarks.
Gas price announcement is pending since January 10, when the oil ministry notified new pricing formula, which was approved by the Cabinet on June 27. The Election Commission had directed the government last month to defer announcement of the new price until model code of conduct was lifted.
Petroleum ministry officials said, Oil minister Veerappa Moily wanted natural gas prices to rise with effect from April 1. "But, in a revised note, he specifically asked us to notify new gas prices after the model code of conduct is lifted," one official said requesting anonymity.
ET reported last week that the ministry wanted new gas prices to be implemented from July 1, but later, Moily reversed the decision to deny retrospective increase in rates, as the government was concerned about the legal fallout of not abiding by a decision taken by the Cabinet.
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