After national highways, it’s gas pipes. Decks have been cleared for the National Gas Highway Develop-ment Authority (NGHDA) on the lines of National Highway Authority of India (NHAI). The proposal is awaiting a final nod from the Prime Minister’s Office.
Using the public-private partnership route, NGHDA will lay gas pipelines across the country, carrying gas from production fields to industries. It will also carry the gas to hubs that will link households, allowing people to use gas to drive vehicles and as cooking fuel.
“A cabinet note proposing creation of this authority has been circulated to ensure speedy formation of India’s gas grid and operationalisation of a gas management system,” a petroleum ministry official told HT.
The body will be financed by three modes — budgetary allocation, levying a cess on gas sales and funding, from multilateral agencies.
“The issue of levying a cess on gas is under consideration of the PMO,” the official said.
In the past five years, availa-bility of gas in India has risen, with companies such as Reliance Industries and ONGC announcing new discoveries.
“Gas being cheaper and cleaner, the government plans to substitute oil as transport fuel by gas,” said Petroleum Secretary R.S. Pande. “Such substitution will result in substantial reduction in import of crude oil.”
According to a cabinet note by the ministry, gas pipeline density in India is 3.29 km per 1,000 sq km — as against 53.57 km in the US, 47 km in France and 70.85 km in Pakistan.
“But demand for gas will depend on availability of pipelines,” Pande said. “So if availability of gas in the country goes up, speedy coverage of the country with pipelines will be needed.”