AP to opt for coal as better option: YSR

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New Delhi, Sept 26 (UNI) Dismayed at the Centre ignoring the contention of Andhra Pradesh on gas pricing, Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy today hinted at the government opting for coal based power plants, if the fuel proved to be 'better option' for the state.

Dr Reddy, who had a meeting with Union Petroleum Minister Murli Deora to discuss various issues related to the state, told mediapersons after the meeting that the price fixed by Empowered Group of Ministers (EGOM) for the gas supplied from the Reliance group was 4.20 dollar a Million British Thermal Units (MBTU).

He noted that in the federal set up the state was bound by the agreement signed by the previous governments in A P and the decision of the EGOM headed by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

Andhra had submitted its viewpoint before a decision was arrived at and it is now binding on the state. "We have to grin and bear it", he remarked without hiding his anguish over the prescribed pricing.

The Chief Minister said he had discussed the issue of laying foundation for the export-oriented ONGC refinery at Kakinada with Mr Deora and he was confident that a positive decision would be made on the state's demand. The minister will hopefully make an announcement in seven to ten days at Hyderabad, he remarked.

He also sought gas supplies for subsidised 'Deepam' gas connections for the poor families of the state. The minister was agreeable to providing gas but said the bottleneck was the availability of cylinders. If this can be overcome, there should be no problem, he added.

Earlier in the day Dr Reddy had discussions on political situation in the state with Congress President Sonia Gandhi as well as AICC General Secretary Digvijay Singh but was not willing to come out with more details. Asked for his reaction about the move to announce a separate Pradesh Congress Committee for Telangana region, Dr Reddy said he was not averse to the idea. "If there is a decision to this effect it will be acceptable to us", he added.

About elevation of Mr Rahul Gandhi as the General Secretary in AICC, Dr Reddy said it was a welcome development and the move would rejuvenate the party and the people especially the youth. Hailing from the family of Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi who had made selfless sacrifices for the country, he said he was sure he would rise upto the occassion.

Asked if Rahul would be projected as Prime Ministerial candidate, Dr Reddy said he was confident that Mr Gandhi would not shy away from the responsibility to serve the nation.


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