The Bhatinda-Srinagar gas pipeline, an estimated Rs 5,000 crore project, is nowhere near completion even nine years after it was announced.
In its written reply to MP Anantnag, Hasnain Masoodi, theMinistry of Petroleum has said: "Petroleum & Natural Gas Regulatory Board(PNGRB) has authorized 725 km long Bhatinda-Jammu-Srinagar Natural Gas Pipeline(BJSPL) to GSPL India Gasnet Limited (GIGL) which is developing the authorizedpipeline project. PNGRB has informed that about 102 km long pipeline sectionfrom Jalandhar-Amritsar in Punjab as a part of BJSPL has been commissioned."
The PNGRB on 7 July 2011 had authorized GSPL, a subsidiaryof the Gujarat Government to lay Bhatinda-Jammu-Srinagar gas pipeline to ensuregas supply for industrial, commercial and domestic use in Jammu and Kashmir.
Subsequently, PNGRB transferred the authorization in favourof GSPL India Gasnet Limited, a consortium comprising of GSPL, Indian OilCorporation, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited and Hindustan PetroleumCorporation Limited.
The gas pipeline was to be laid through the districts ofKathua, Samba, Jammu, Udhampur, Ramban, Anantnag and Srinagar and the scheduledcompletion date for the project was 6 July 2014.
In order to facilitate acquisition of land for the project,the then J&K Governor had even issued an Ordinance in June 2013.
Though the land acquisition process was started in Kathuaand Samba districts, it has not reached the logical conclusion, sources said.
"The project has seen no progress despite the fact that theformer J&K governor had on 28 November 2018 approved amendments to theJ&K Underground Public Utilities (Acquisition of Rights to User in Land)Act, 2014 to increase the time line for completing the gas project,' anofficial informed.
The SAC had hoped that with the amendment, J&K will havea gas pipeline to Srinagar by the end of 2019 and gas distribution networksshall come up in Jammu, Srinagar and other major towns within 18-24 monthsthereafter.
It is pertinent to mention that J&K High Court hasalready passed directions seeking the reasons for inordinate delay incompletion of the project.
On a recent hearing on the matter, the amicus curiae hadinformed the court at Srinagar that the government of India had alreadysanctioned Rs 10,000 crore for laying the gas pipeline from Bathinda toSrinagar "but it is only the failure of the government that the funds are notutilized."