Pithampur industries accuse GAIL of denying gas, fear diversion
PITHAMPUR INDUSTRIALISTS have accused GAIL (India) Ltd of denying them a chance to avail piped natural gas from Jagoti-Pithampur pipeline and voiced fears that gas earmarked for Indore division could be diverted to Gujarat. Pithampur Industries Association has filed a complaint with Union Petroleum Minister Murli Deora in this context.Updated: Sep 06, 2006 00:16 IST
PITHAMPUR INDUSTRIALISTS have accused GAIL (India) Ltd of denying them a chance to avail piped natural gas from Jagoti-Pithampur pipeline and voiced fears that gas earmarked for Indore division could be diverted to Gujarat. Pithampur Industries Association has filed a complaint with Union Petroleum Minister Murli Deora in this context.
GAIL is laying a 135-km long pipeline from Jagoti to Pithampur via Indore at an estimated cost of Rs 195 crore to supply natural gas for domestic and industrial use. Natural gas is a cheaper alternative to other fuels such as diesel, LDO and furnace oil, and as such there is a great demand from the industry for piped natural gas (PNG).
“Although GAIL had earmarked 2.4 million standard cubic meter per day of gas for Indore division and an equal quantity for Gwalior division, it has actually signed agreement for supply of 0.1149 mmscmd gas to Indore division and 0.5322 mmscmd to Gwalior division,” says Pithampur Industries Association President Gautam Kothari.
The bone of contention between the GAIL and industries associations of the State is the alleged deadline set by GAIL officials in 2004 to sign the gas supply agreement (GSA). Only 11 industries from Pithampur and three from Dewas signed the GSA before the deadline expired. Although a lot of industrialists are now demanding piped gas, GAIL is unwilling to sign any more agreements citing lack of availability of gas.
“The industrialists of Pithampur, Dewas and Malanpur (Gwalior) were asked to sign the GSA latest by August 15, 2004, and subsequently the deadline was extended to September 2004. However, documents obtained under RTI Act show that there was no deadline fixed for signing the GSA. None other than GAIL’s Central Public Information Officer, S L Raina, has given this information,” contends Kothari.
Rubbishing the claims, a senior GAIL official told Hindustan Times that no fixed amount of gas was earmarked for Indore division and no deadline was set for signing the GSA. “The industrialists themselves were dillydallying on signing the GSA in the year 2004; the GSA was to be signed on first come first serve basis till the availability of gas; we will again sign agreements as and when gas becomes available.”
Kothari attributes the indecision shown by industrialists in 2004 to lack of publicity. “Although GAIL had organised a seminar to explain technical aspects and applications of natural gas at Indore in July 2004, only a small number of industrialists were able to attend due to lack of publicity. As a result, most of them remained in the dark about the requirement and cost of gas.”
GAIL stopped signing the GSA after September 2004 except in the case of Wartsila (Malanpur) wherein GSA was signed in December 2004. When asked why such a huge investment was being made to set up pipelines for supplying a miniscule amount of gas, GAIL official said that pipelines are laid looking at the future demand potential as the company can’t lay pipelines every year. He informed that the project, which has been delayed by nearly two years, would be completed by February 2007.