The government is likely to put in place an apex planning body for laying major gas pipeline projects — Gas Highways Authority of India (GHAI) on the lines of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) — by March 2010.
Union petroleum minister Murli Deora told reporters at the economic editors conference on Wednesday that his ministry is in the process of finalising details of this apex body, the formation of which was announced in the last Budget.
Deora said the ministry is still working on an administrative mechanism for executing and managing national gas highways.
On GAIL being appointed a nodal body, petroleum secretary R S Pandey said, “GAIL is a pipeline construction company while GHAI will plan for these pipelines and will have statutory powers as is being done for road highways by NHAI.”
The government may levy a nominal $0.20 (around Rs 10) per unit cess on domestically produced natural gas, which would garner Rs 3,000 crore annuallyand can help build 500-600 km of gas pipeline, he said.