If everything goes well, residents of Ludhiana would be able to enjoy the facility of piped natural gas (PNG) used for cooking purposes and compressed natural gas (CNG) used as fuel in vehicles by the end of this year, which is expected to bring down pollution in the city. Jalandhar was expected to get the facility by mid-2013.
This information was furnished by the Centre to Punjab and Haryana high court on Wednesday during resumed hearing of a public interest litigation filed by Lt Col Naresh Ghai (retd) of Ludhiana and others.
Central government's standing counsel Onkar Singh Batalvi apprised the court that the delay was on the part of the Punjab government as it had not signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL) till date.
On this, the court directed the Punjab government to speed up the matter and provide details to the Centre after signing an MoU in the matter.
Batalvi further said that GAIL had already laid down the main pipeline for the project from Bhawana (Haryana) to Nangal (Punjab) and as soon as the Punjab government signed the MoU and gave its gas requirement, spur pipeline would be laid and connections issued by GAIL. The main pipeline is slated to be extended to Amritsar.
The counsel said that the state government had not even given the names of two CNG stations each in Ludhiana and Jalandhar to the Centre from where connections were to be released.
On an earlier date of hearing also, the high court had directed the state government to take decision at an appropriate level regarding use of compressed natural gas (CNG) as an alternative fuel for public transport, including auto-rickshaws, especially in Amritsar, Jalandhar and Ludhiana.
However, GAIL had chosen Ludhiana and Jalandhar for its pilot project. The facility would later be extended to Amritsar.
The petitioners had sought directions to the authorities concerned to check auto-rickshaws especially running in Ludhiana by adulterating kerosene with fuel, causing immense pollution in the already polluted city.
The bench was apprised that out of 45,000 auto-rickshaws running in Ludhiana, hardly 12,000 were registered. Many auto- rickshaws did not have pollution under control (PUC) certificates and had illegally modified bodies.
The case would now come up for hearing on August 2.