Gas Pipeline To Srinagar, CNG In J&K Shortly: Deora
18 June 2007
The Daily Excelsior
Srinagar: Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas is planning a gas pipeline to Srinagar within the next two years. To curb the increasing environmental degradation, auto CNG is also to be introduced in the State in near future. This was disclosed by the Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Murli Deora at a press conference here today. He said, the gas pipe line to Kashmir is on the cards and the project report for this purpose is in its final stages. 'As soon as there is sufficient availability of the natural gas, it will be provided to the people of the Valley through the pipeline', the Minister said. Deora said that to enhance the infrastructure for marketing and distribution of petroleum products in Jammu and Kashmir, the public sector oil companies like IOC, BPC and HPC are coming up with new investments adding that the peculiar geography of the State demanded augmentation of storage facilities for petroleum products and consequently 10 new storage points have been identified throughout the State. The Union Minister announced the introduction of auto CNG in the State. He said that the Government was very much concerned about the fragile ecosystem of the Valley and so the facility of auto CNG will soon be initiated in the State. Regarding the mushrooming growth of Petrol pumps in the residential areas, he acknowledged their adverse impact on the lives of the people and the surroundings and said that his Ministry will ensure that petrol pumps are not installed in human habitations in future. The Minister ruled out the the hike in prices of petroleum and petroleum products for the time being. He also said pipes are being laid out for the Iran-India gas pipe line passing via Pakistan. He, however, declined to specify any date for completion of the project. This is an eight billion dollar venture and there are many intricacies involved in it, he maintained. Mr Deora was in the town in connection with the regional meeting of the three northern hill States of Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir, to review the marketing and distribution of petroleum products in these States. He told the meeting that the oil companies have proposed further investments in these States to ensure that not only the present needs but the future needs of consumers are also satisfied. The need for greater cooperation with the State Governments to control and eliminate the menaces of adulteration and diversion of subsidized kerosene and domestic LPG was emphasized in the meeting. It was also made known in the meeting that the ministry had introduced ethanol blended petrol which was not only environment friendly but was also beneficial to farmers across the country. The programme has already been launched in Uttaranchal and was likely to be implemented in the Himachal from next month. The matters relating to smooth implementation of this national programme were discussed with the State Governments. It was also decided that the reach of LPG should be increased in hilly areas of these States. Such initatives have started paying dividends by way of avoiding deforestation. It is in place to mention here that the LPG cover in J&K is lower than its counterparts Himachal and Uttaranchal. The Minister assured the State Governments of the three hill States that their energy needs shall be given due priority to ensure their smooth development. 'The project is definitely on. We are very keen and sure that the deal will be signed...But we can't say when and how soon. We cannot give a definite time frame for it,' Deora said. He said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had termed the project as a pipeline for peace and progress. 'We are giving finishing touches to the deal. Most of the issues have been resolved. We have had extensive discussions with Iran and Pakistan recently,' Deora said. He said the officials from the two countries would visit India next month to hold further discussions on the project. The proposed 12,670-km pipeline will initially carry 60 million cubic metres (2.2 billion cu ft) of gas from Iran to be exported daily to Pakistan and India, half for each country. Under the plan, the pipeline capacity from Iran, which has the world's second-largest gas reserves after Russia, would be later increased to 150 million cubic metres. Meanwhile, Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad has called for evolving a short, medium and long- term policy to meet the requirements of petroleum products of Jammu and Kashmir. He said there is need for augmenting storage capacity in Srinagar by five times and adequate storage infrastructure in far- flung areas like Kupwara, Rajouri and Doda. He said outlets have to be created at Gurez, Tangdhar, Machil, Zanskar, Marwah and Dachhan to meet the energy requirements of the people. He said keeping in view the eight new districts in Jammu and Kashmir there is urgent need of additional storage facilities and outlets in these districts. Mr. Azad was addressing a regional meeting of the three northern hill States of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand held here under the chairmanship of Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas to review the marketing and distribution of petroleum products in these States. Mr. Azad expressed happiness that such a meeting has been held for the first time in the State and emphasized for formulating area specific strategies. He said geographical, climatic and other such factors should be the basis for setting up of storage facility and distribution outlets to facilitate the people. He said distance should also be the criterion while creating storage facilities and outlets in hilly States like Jammu and Kashmir. He also stressed for greater coordination between oil companies. Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, Union Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dinsha Patel, Minister for Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution Taj Mohi-ud- Din, Minister of State for Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution Manjit Singh, Secretary Union Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas M. S. Srinivasan, J&K Chief Secretary C.Phunsog, Chief Secretaries of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand S. S. Parmar and S. K. Das respectively, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Anil Goswami, CMDs of oil companies and senior officers participated in the high level meeting. Meanwhile, Mr Azad Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister and Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas visited Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan's Gandhi Institute of Computer Education and Information Technology at Government Polytechnic Gogji Bagh here today for participation in its first convocation. Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Azad threw light on the importance of IT and its significance in providing employment to trained youth. He advocated job-oriented training courses like tele-transcription, insurance, banking, call centre, animation, etc commensurate with the aptitude of the trainees. Mr. Deora said that in the present day world of science and technology, computer education is key to progress and placement. He dwelt on the performance of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, which has done a commendable work in promotion of computer and job- oriented education in the country. This has helped a large number of youth in shaping their career, he said. He assured that the courses suggested by Mr. Azad would be introduced in the institute shortly. Mr. Azad, Mr. Virbhadra Singh and Mr. Deora gave away certificates to the pass-out trainees of the institute.