Information Sharing by PSUs- Case of better late than never

Companies in India are often very reluctant to share information with the general public. Irrespective of the fact that the information may be sensitive or that it may harm the business interests of the company. Many times the lack of transparency catches the regulatory machinery, government, or even the general public off guard. It usually happens because someone, somewhere wants to hide something crucial. This leads one to suspect that all may not be well within the Company. newsip has been in the forefront of exposing many extraordinary facts of high places of business establishments, especially when such business is carried out with taxpayers money.

Readers, today we bring forth to you one such case of PSU namely Gas Authority of India Ltd. The company has a commanding position in Gas Business in India and since it is owned by the Govt. of India it is an instrumentality of the state. It is therefore surprising that GAIL would fall within the ranks of companies which may want to keep information away from public glare. We request our readers to draw their considered conclusions after fully reading this knowledge-sharing article.

(Annexure 1 By newsip Team)

It is requested, kindly share the current status of GAIL’s Petrochemical Business.

  1. a) Is the Petrochemical Business of GAIL making profits?
  2. b) Is it running at a loss?
  3. c) What is his performance report for the last five years? Profit & Loss for last five years.

2) What’s the current situation in GAIL

  1. a) Is Supply of gas to power plants normalised ?

b)Is the Supply of gas to fertilizer companies normalized?

  1. c) Is the Supply of gas to CNG consumers,  Automobiles etc. adequte ?
  2. d) Is the Supply of PNG gas in homes on normal level ?

One sees there is below-par performance in most areas. Long queues of vehicles are still being seen at gas stations even after decades of the introduction of Gas as Auto Fuel. Complaints are often received from the electricity generating companies about the non-fulfillment of gas supplies. It is not known whether GAIL is able to improve the supply of gas to them in the near future. Apart from this, fertilizer companies are also not getting gas supply. Your comments are solicited.

In spite of such a long journey of GAIL, its performance is seen as disappointing by the common public.

Is laying of new trunk Pipelines for better supply in the future being contemplated by GAIL? If yes, can you share the same?

Further, in light of  the situation mentioned above, we may be kindly  informed whether it is prudent  to invest in a sick private Petrochemical company as has been announced in the media by GAIL?

Is it not a more intelligent move to focus on improving GAIL’s current supply and get it out of the dark? Should it still focus on saving a private company? Should GAILs report card be judged merely on Profits which in any case in a suppliers market is assured. Should GAIL not think in terms of improving it’s own S&D efforts and improving the lot of its hapless customers? newsip had sent GAIL a set of Public Information Questions, (supra, Annex 1), which are not confidential in nature nor inclined towards sharing business secrets. It was first sent on 16.03.2023 and constantly followed up with reminders on 23.03.2023 and 08.05.2023 to CMD GAIL. The questions went unanswered. Thereafter, Newsip shared a flash today ie 15.05.23 in the evening, inviting esteemed readers to read the article on information sharing by GAIL. Lo and behold the office of Newsip started getting telephone calls from GAIL office and after 1900 hrs some answers were sent through email. We have attached these answers ( supra Annexure- B).

(Annexure- B By Gail Team)

Petrochemicals business:

The Petrochemicals business of GAIL is performing quite satisfactorily. During the last financial year, 4 lakh metric tonnes of polymers were sold from the Pata Petrochemical plant which is likely to increase this year. Supply disruptions due to global scenario affected production for a short period but that has now been overcome.

Financial performance:

GAIL has been posting profits consistently since a long time. In the last five years (upto FY 2021-22), the PAT ranged between Rs 4,618 crore and Rs 10,364 crore. The audited results for FY 2022-23 are being finalised.

Gas supply:

GAIL has always maintained adequate supply of natural gas to all its customers to the best of its ability. Supply of PNG to households and CNG for the transport sector is given top priority and is never affected. In the last year, availability of LNG from sources abroad was affected due to global scenario due to which supply to fertilizer and power plants had to be curtailed for a short period. However, with the situation improving in recent months, the supply has been mostly restored.

Natural Gas Grid:

GAIL has nearly 15,500 km of operational natural gas pipelines and is in the process of laying another 4,000 km of cross-country pipelines. These include Phase 2 and 3 of the Jagdishpur Haldia and Bokaro Dhamra Pipeline(JHBDPL) also known as Pradhan Mantri Urja Ganga, Barauni Guwahati Pipeline (BGPL), Srikakulam Angul Pipeline and Mumbai Nagpur Jharsuguda Pipeline(MNJPL). With this, most parts of the country, including east and north-east India, will have access to environment friendly natural gas in the near future.

Acquisition of JBF Petrochemicals Ltd.:

The process of GAIL’s acquisition of the JBF Petrochemicals Ltd. is in advanced stage. GAIL believes that this 1.23 MMTPA Purified Terephthalic Acid plant has a lot of potential and will add to the range of products available in GAIL’s portfolio. With the increasing demand for petrochemical products both in India and abroad, addition to GAIL’s production capacity is being seen as a welcome move. Apart from this, GAIL is constantly making efforts to increase its portfolio through forays into green hydrogen, compressed bio gas, renewables, etc. which will add further upside to the company’s business.

The readers would realize the sudden need to hurriedly sending the answers well after office hours. The esteemed readers would observe that the questions asked were for knowing some essential business-related information that the public has a right to know. After all, GAIL is a PSU and is answerable to Parliament and the Public. The fourth estate of the republic has a role and right to gather information vital to the public and share the same with them. God forbid if a PSU was to falter, it’s the common people who would pay a very heavy price.

The Questions and their Answers are for everyone to see. But the reason behind the delay is worrisome. If a Govt. PSU with a large contingent of Corp. Comm. Officers also has to take so long to give rather common place answers it speaks volumes on its attitude towards the Press and Common Citizens. We assure our readers we shall seek the truth and continue to track such matters.

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