Rupani slashes PNG price for Morbi

Vol 23, PW 22 (10 Sep 20) News in Brief

Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani has gifted ceramics factories in Morbi district a gas price cut ahead of a by-election in December 2020.

On September 8, Rupani enthusiastically announced an additional reduction of Rs2.50 ($0.03)/cubic metre for piped natural gas supplied to ceramics producers by local retailers Gujarat Gas and Sabarmati Gas. That means the price has fallen from Rs27.41 ($0.37) to Rs24.91 ($0.33), or by 9%.

"The CM's price cut is to appease powerful ceramics factory owners," says a Gandhinagar source. "These owners can help the ruling BJP win in Morbi."

By law, a by-election is mandatory for the Morbi seat after the sitting Congress legislator Brijesh Merja switched to the BJP in June (2020). "Morbi is traditionally a Congress stronghold," we hear.

"The BJP wants to break this mould." In June (2020), Gujarat reduced gas prices by Rs2 ($0.02)/cubic metre and the total reduction since May is equivalent to 16%.

This announcement will benefit 1160 factories, mostly in Morbi but also in nearby Surendranagar and Sabarkantha. Ceramics factories in Morbi consume more than 6.5m cm/d of gas.

Most of Morbi's gas supply comes from LNG imports through GSPC at the Mundra LNG terminal.