• Piped cooking gas in PM’s constituency Varanasi by March next year

    People in Varanasi, the Parliament constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will start getting piped cooking gas by March next year, about nine months ahead of the proposed Jagdishpur-Haldia gas pipeline touches the city, with supplies sourced using tankers.

    State-owned natural gas major GAILBSE -0.69 % plans to start a gas distribution pilot in Varanasi and Bhubaneswar by March 2018, its director (projects) Ashutosh Karnatak said.

    During the pilot, each city would have two compressed natural gas (CNG) stations for vehicles and about 500 domestic piped gas connections.

    The supply will be fetched from the nearest sources using tankers until the Jagdishpur-Haldia pipeline reaches the two cities, Karnatak said.

    GAIL is building a 2,620-km of gas pipeline from Jagdishpur in Uttar Pradesh to Haldia in West Bengal, Bokaro in Jharkhand and Dhamra in Odisha.

    It also has the government mandate to develop city gas distribution network in seven cities along the way and supply piped gas to consumers in those cities.

    GAIL is rapidly implementing the pipeline project, awarding contracts for laying of pipeline on several stretches and engaging with landowners to easily secure right of use.

    “Our mantra is constraint first, progress later. We try and resolve the problems of our vendors first. With their constraints gone, the progress is automatically made,” said Karnatak. “We are continuously engaging with farmers, understanding their pulse, gauging their reactions to secure their participation in the process. This should help us stay on schedule,” he said.

    Under the plan, Varanasi is the first of the seven cities to be touched by the proposed pipeline, with Patna, Jamshedpur, Kolkata, Ranchi, Bhubaneswar and Cuttack coming in later.

    The pipeline, with a gas carrying capacity of 16 million metric standard cubic meters a day, will reach Varanasi and Patna by December 2018 and other cities next year.

    GAIL will invest Rs 2,800 crore in building city gas distribution networks in all seven cities, which are expected to serve nearly 3.4 lakh domestic and industrial customers and 1.7 lakh vehicles in five years.

    Jagdishpur-Haldia pipeline project had been languishing for years. The Modi government gave it a new lease of life. Its route was also changed, benefiting Varanasi and cities in Odisha.  Cam Neely Jersey

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