Gas pipeline project faces delay

JK Yet To Frame Law For Land Use

UMER MAQBOOL

Srinagar, Nov 2: Peeved over the delay in removing the bottlenecks for laying a gas pipeline to Jammu and Kashmir, the Gujarat-based consortium undertaking the mega-project—Gujarat State Petronet Limited (GSPL)— has approached Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) with a plea to get the legal formalities of the project cleared by the J&K Government on fast-track basis.
Highly placed sources told Greater Kashmir that chairman GSPL, Tapan Ray, has written to chairman PNGRB, S Krishnan, seeking intervention of the regulatory body in clearing legal formalities for the project.
The move, coincidentally, comes at a time when Jammu and Kashmir is reeling under severe LPG crisis following the cap on subsidized LPG by Central Government. Facing widespread resentment for its ‘inefficiency’ to tackle cooking gas crisis and failure to raise cap on subsidized LPG from its own funds, Jammu and Kashmir Government has been projecting the pipeline as panacea of the woes of people.
According to the sources, the GSPL has informed the PNGRB that delay on account of State Government was hampering their pre-project activities.
“We have sought the intervention as we might miss our original schedule of completing the project in three years if things go in the same way,” an official of GSPL said.
Although the project was awarded to the Gujarat-based consortium in July 2011, J&K  Government is yet to frame a law for giving right to use the land coming under the pipeline, despite repeated letters from GSPL and visits by its officials here. Recently, the State Government claimed that the draft law for right to use the land for the project has been sent to Law Department for concurrence.
The GSPL official said there has been much progress on pre-execution activities of 750-kilometer Bathinda-Jammu-Srinagar gas pipeline in neighboring Punjab, but “we are helpless to undertake similar activities in J&K due to absence of the requisite law.”
“We did not face any legal impediment in Punjab due to applicability of Central Petroleum Minerals and Pipelines Act, 1962, there.”
According to the official, the 3-year deadline of the gas pipeline project is likely to be missed due to the ‘callous’ approach of the State Government.
“We had proposed to complete the initial formalities like land acquisition and tendering in first 18 months and construction work in another 18 months. But 15 months have passed since the allotment of contract and it may take us 7-8 months more to clear pre-project activities,” the official added.
When contacted, Chief Secretary Madhav Lal said, “We will look into the issue and if they (GSPL) are facing any problem we will take a review meeting with them,” he said.

Lastupdate on : Fri, 2 Nov 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 2 Nov 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 3 Nov 2012 00:00:00 IST




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