Axe on Relaince's EOU status unlikely

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New Delhi, July 16: There seems to be no possibility of banning export of petroleum products or withdrawing export-oriented unit (EOU) status of the Mukesh Ambani-controlled Reliance oil refinery at Jamnagar in Gujarat if thinking in the government circles is any indication. While accepting there has been an increase in prices of petroleum products, high-level government sources ruled out banning their exports immediately as demanded by Samajwadi Party.

The new supporter-party of the Congress-led UPA coalition government had demanded a ban on export of petroleum products, asking if export of certain steel products, edible oils and non-basmati rice could be banned to strengthen domestic supplies to contain price rise why not ban export of petro products to achieve a similar objective.

The sources said the SP's demand was not under consideration of the government. Asked if EOU status of Reliance refinery could be withdrawn, they asked; "How you can single out one unit when the (EOU) policy pre-dates it?." If the government wanted to review the policy as such then it could be altogether a different thing.

Reliance's second refinery, coming up adjoining the existing one at Jamnagar, and likely to go on stream before the year-end, has been granted EOU status which gives several tax ememptions to all export units as per the existing policy of the government.

Reliance Industries' chairman Mukesh Ambani had met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the wake of such demands made by SP's general secretary Amar Singh. The SP leader has also demanded the government to levy windfall profit tax on petro refineries in view of the huge profits made by them in the wake of surge in prices of petroleum products.

Government spokesman had, however, denied any political motive behind the Ambani-PM meeting, saying it was a routine meeting by the PM with a corporate leader.


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