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HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Chandigarh, November 26, 2012
In an effort to reduce environment pollution, compressed natural gas (CNG) stations for fuelling city bus service, one each in Jalandhar and Ludhiana, would be operational by August 2013.
This information was submitted by the central government before the Punjab and Haryana high court on Monday during resumed hearing of a public interest litigation filed by Lt Col Naresh Ghai (retd) of Ludhiana and others.

Appearing for the Centre, advocate Onkar Singh Batalvi told the court that a memorandum of understanding as well as a sale agreement had been signed between the Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL), Jalandhar bus transport service, Ludhiana city bus service and Punbus. Now, it will take around nine months to make the facility operational and one CNG dispenser each at Ludhiana and Jalandhar would be installed, he added.

Batalvi also informed the court that central government agencies had held talks with Mandi Gobindgarh industries for the supply of fuel for industrial purposes and deliberations on the matter were in process. He added that since the trunk gas pipeline had been laid from Delhi to Jalandhar, dispensers could be placed anywhere in between on the request of the authorities concerned.

The court was also informed that the Punjab state bus stand management company limited (Punbus) and the Haryana transport department had informed that the cost of gas would be uneconomical for them to run buses on long routes.

However, the Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) stated that the authorities concerned had to take the mandatory permission from it with regard to laying of the spur pipelines connected from the main (trunk) pipeline in the two cities. Objecting to it, the Centre's counsel said GAIL could lay the spur pipelines up to 50-km radius of the trunk pipeline without any permission.

On this, the division bench headed by chief justice Arjan Kumar Sikri directed the PNGRB to file its response within four weeks and also directed the Centre to file a rejoinder within four weeks thereafter. The case would now come up for hearing on February 4.