Lawyers re-write CGD rules before Gazette publication

Vol 11, PW 21 (06 Mar 08) People & Policy

Preparing guidelines toregulate India’s fast-expanding retail gas business is proving a tortuous process.

PETROWATCH learns the Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board has missed its third internal deadline for completion of the guidelines, which it hoped to make public on February 29 on its (under construction) website http://www.pngrb.nic.

in/ and on the website of Engineers India. “More than 2000 pages of industry feedback have gone into preparing these regulations,â€‌ reports a Board source.

“Many suggestions have been incorporated.â€‌ On February 27, Board chairman Labanyendu Mansingh, secretary Ajay Tyagi and the four Members â€کadopted’ the final draft of the regulations during a meeting in their temporary office at HPCL’s SCOPE Minar building.

After the meeting the draft was submitted to an outside lawyer, who is vetting it, as we write. Mansingh tells us he expects the guidelines to be sent to the government press for publication in the Gazette, “within 10 to 15 daysâ€‌ thereby passing into law.

Others are not so sure. “Our legal consultant is making many changes to the language (of the document),â€‌ we hear.

“So far (by February 27) he has read only 13 pages of the 120 or so pages that make up the final document. I don’t think they will be ready so soon.

â€‌ Mansingh’s impatience to finalise the CGD regulations resonated during a meeting with industry representatives at GAIL’s Bhikaji Cama Place office in Delhi on February 25 in which Board secretary Ajay Tyagi delivered a presentation. A representative from industry body Petrofed said companies needed more time for feedback.

“Mansingh replied he would give no more time and that the regulations are final,â€‌ reports a witness to the exchange. “He said it would become a never-ending exercise if we didn’t finalise them now.

He said the Board had already missed two deadlines and that he would not let the process â€کdrag on and on like this’.â€‌