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Petroleum Regulatory Bill introduced in LS

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, Mar 20 (UNI) The government today introduced in the Lok Sabha the Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Bill that seeks to regulate the oil industry in the country.

Petroleum Minister Murli Deora introduced the Bill, which has been passed in the Rajya Sabha last year.

The Bill was aimed at ensuring energy security of the country, uninterrupted supply of petroleum products and protecting the interests of the consumers, said Mr Deora.

The Bill, which won support from MPs cutting across party lines, however came in for criticism from former minister and Shiv Sena member Suresh Prabhu who feared that it could turn into a regime of bureaucrats.

The regulatory body, which is to be composed of bureaucrats chosen by bureaucrats, will need the ''right composition and right kind of people equipped to do the job'', he said.

The exploration of petroleum and gas should also come under the jurisdiction of the regulatory body, he added.

With the entry of private players, the oil sector will become competitive, said Mr V P Singh (BJP). ''Why can't we have a super regulator on the lines of the Reserve Bank of India and SEBI?'' he asked.

Mr Jaiprakash (Congress) said the creation of a regulatory body would help the interests of the farmers, who use diesel to run generators in the farms.

Mr Ram Kripal Yadav (RJD) said the government should focus on exploration of petroleum, especially in Bihar. The interests of the farmers and other consumers should be taken care of by the government, said Mr Shialendra Kumar (SP), who also sought expansion of the supply of piped gas across the country.

Mr Tathagata Satpathy (BJD) said with the auditing of the regulatory body being kept out of the purview of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, the Bill would encourage corruption. ''Who will regulate this regulatory body?'' he asked.

The discussion on the Bill will continue tomorrow.

UNI KSA/FZ MSJ GC1841

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