'Stop treating us like servants!' says PNGRB

Vol 18, PW 7 (20 Nov 14) People & Policy

India’s gas regulator is tired of being treated as the oil ministry’s subordinate, which in response says it has little faith in the body.

Last week the PNGRB wrote to the ministry asking it to stop embarrassing it in front of pipeline companies and gas retailers. It seems the ministry has been calling Board officials to meetings with these companies and then demanding explanations on the slow pace of work.

“Seeking explanations from us in front of other companies creates an uncomfortable situation,” says a PNGRB source. “They (ministry officials) should have separate meetings with the Board.

” Discord between the ministry and the regulator is a longstanding problem but things were expected to improve after Narendra Modi took over as PM. Sadly little has improved.

Our PNGRB source complains the ministry constantly sends out letters and communications portraying the Board as an institution under the ministry’s control. “This is incorrect,” he says.

“The ministry must recognise the PNGRB as a statutory body set up by law to enforce legislation. We’re the regulator and the ministry should respect that.

” Also the Board is upset over being ‘directed’ by the new government to expedite the growth of city gas distribution networks and to add 15,000-km of gas pipelines to complete a national gas grid.