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Modi Meets PM, Seeks Parity in Gas Pricing
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi today accused the Centre of disparity in gas pricing as he met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and sought his intervention in resolving a number of critical issues pertaining to his state.

Modi, who met Singh for the first time after his third successive electoral victory in December last, expressed his unhappiness over the Centre's refusal to provide gas to the state at the same price at which it is given to Mumbai and Delhi.

Demanding the same rates for gas supplied to Gujarat as to places like Delhi and Mumbai, Modi handed over a memorandum to the Prime Minister on various issues pending Centre' action that had a huge bearing on the country's economy.

"It was a very good meeting and we had a long discussion during which several different issues came up. The Prime Minister gave his good wishes for the development of Gujarat and the success of the new government. I gave an assurance that Gujarat will give full support to all measures taken for the welfare of the people," he told reporters after the 45- minute meeting.

On the gas pricing issue, he said, "A legal battle is on between us and the Government of India. Gujarat is not given gas at the price at which Delhi and Mumbai get it. We had gone to court and won the case. Despite this the order was not implemented for six months and we filed a contempt petition."

"Instead of accepting this order, the Government of India went to the Supreme Court to delay the process. I have expressed my unhappiness to the Prime Minister over this," he said.

He also discussed the issue of raising the height of Sardar Sarovar dam to 138.68 meter and sought Singh's intervention to get clearance for construction of spillway piers to full height, bridge and installation of gates at the dam site.

Modi said by raising the Full Reservoir Level (FRL) of the dam the storage capacity of the dam will get enhanced to 46.8 lakh acre feet (almost three times the present capacity) and would facilitate creation of an additional irrigation potential of 6.8 lakh ha and nearly 40 per cent additional power generation.

Modi urged the Prime Minister to facilitate clearance for the long-pending project as early as possible.

Raising the issue of desert development programme (DDP) areas facing severe water problems than areas covered under the drought prone areas programme (DPAP), he said the Centre was strangely not providing assistance under Accelerated Irrigation Benefit programme (AIBP), even though it provides 90 per cent assistance in DPAP areas.

The Chief Minister said Gujarat has very large areas in Saurashtra and Kutch under DDP which falls under command areas of Sardar Sarovar and the state has made all out efforts to bring water to these areas to improve the lives of people.

He noted that the Planning Commission chaired by Prime Minister supports the proposal to bring DDP areas at par with DPAP areas but the same has not been approved by the Government of India.

Modi also raised the issues of regulating BT cotton seed prices which adversely affected the farmers in Gujarat, flip- flop in allowing cotton export, non-payment of royalty on crude oil as per statutory provisions, coal allocation to Gujarat from nearer coal mines of Western Coal fields for power generation and complete waiver on custom duty in ship breaking industry.

He said most issues not only adversely affected the economic growth and development of the State but also put common people especially farmers and marginalized sections of society in very difficult and distressful conditions.

The Gujarat Chief Minister, who had called on President Pranab Mukherjee last month, wanted the Prime Minister to look into the demand for completion of the canal network on Narmada river to provide water to farmers.

"As per the Government of India norms Gujarat should get this. I requested him that Gujarat should get the same benefits that other states get," he said.

Modi maintained that several other issues were also discussed.

"The Prime Minister has assured me that he will himself look into these issues and will take decisions for the welfare of the people," he said.
Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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