• Multiple time-consuming clearances creating hurdles for CGD players: D K Sarraf, chairman, PNGRB

    City Gas Distribution (CGD) players in the country are facing serious difficulties in getting permissions and clearances from state governments and municipal corporations for setting up CGD business, D K Sarraf, Chairman of downstream oil sector regulator Petroleum Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) has said.

    “Let me confess that what has been done by team PNGRB is far easier than what remains to be achieved by CGD companies. Our CGD entrepreneurs are facing difficulties in getting Right of Use and permissions for laying pipelines from Indian Railways, NHAI, forest department and state governments,” Sarraf said at an event on the commencement of work of projects under the tenth City Gas Distribution (CGD) round. “(There is) uncertainty created by push towards EVs, though it has been clarified to some extent,” he added.

    He also said the industry is fully charged and committed to make an additional investment and create jobs and any encouragement given by the government will go a long way in the development of the gas industry in India. The winning companies under the tenth CGD round have committed work program of more than 3,500 Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) stations, 2 crore Piped Natural Gas connections and 58,000 inch KM of steel pipeline over 8 years, with a likely investment of Rs 50,000 crore.

    “The entities are required to pay very high charges to the state governments and municipal corporations for permissions to lay pipelines. The policies for CGD sector and single-window clearance mechanism is in-place in a few states. Multiple and time-consuming permissions and clearances are required for starting CNG stations, availability of land for stations is another challenge. Most importantly, GST remains to be applicable on natural gas,” Sarraf said, adding the regulator and the industry are confident the petroleum ministry will resolve the bottlenecks.

    Post the completion of the tenth CGD round, natural gas will be available in 228 Geographical Areas, covering 27 states and union territories, which will result in access to gas for 70 per cent of the country’s population and 50 per cent of its geographical area.

    The former Chairman of state-run petroleum explorer Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) highlighted multiple initiatives being taken by the regulator including bringing in competition in CGD after end of market exclusivity, revising the bidding model for natural gas pipelines, determining the tariff of natural gas pipelines and starting of a gas trading platform.

    He said the regulator has cleared pipeline projects of over 9,000 KM across the country and is now commissioning a study to identify the gaps in the availability of natural gas infrastructure.

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