New Delhi: Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan has inaugurated 56 CNG stations on Thursday, taking the total number of stations in the country to over 2,300. These CNG stations are in one UT-Chandigarh, and 13 states — Bihar, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, and Andhra Pradesh. Speaking on the occasion, the minister said that in the last six years, the number of CNG stations has gone up from 947 to over 2,300. He said that presently more than 400 districts of the country are being covered by the City Gas Distribution network. The Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) is preparing to come out with the 11th round of CGD bidding round, after which 50-100 additional districts will get the clean fuel.
Pradhan said that India is moving towards becoming a gas-based economy. He said that the government is committed to providing infrastructure to facilitate this, and a 17,000-km-long pipeline is being laid for the purpose. He said that places like north-eastern states and eastern India, which were deprived of the access to gas, are also being covered. Efforts are underway to complete the national gas grid in a time-bound manner.
He said that the government, with the spirit of Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, has worked to usher in a blue flame revolution in the country. Over 28 crore households have been provided LPG connections and an ambitious plan to provide 5 crore households with PNG connection is underway.
The minister expressed his gratitude to the Finance Ministry and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for facilitating the growth of the CBG ecosystem in the country. He said that Compressed Biogas (CBG) has been included in the priority sector by the RBI, which will help entrepreneurs in getting cheaper and easier access to loans.
Talking about the waste to energy concept, the minister said that India, despite being very low in per capita pollution, has taken steps to adopt renewable sources of energy in a big way. He specially mentioned about the efforts being made by Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to adopt clean fuel, to reduce the pollution level in the National capital region (NCR) during winters. He mentioned the recent initiative of IOCL, NTPC and SDMC to convert the municipal waste at Ghazipur into gas.
The Minister called upon entrepreneurs to take advantage of the policy reforms brought in the energy sector. He said that the capital requirement for setting up retail outlets has been reduced from Rs 2,000 crore to Rs 250 crore, and even start-ups can take part in it now. He said that retail outlets can not only sell the traditional fossil fuels, but also dispense gas, and put up electric vehicle charging stations. He appealed to the entrepreneurs to take advantage of policy reforms, compete and bring in innovation in fuel marketing which will be beneficial for the consumers. The minister also spoke about the recent initiative of battery-swapping station set up in Chandigarh, which can be replicated elsewhere as well. He also called upon CGD players to set up CBG stations for which cheaper and easily available raw material is abundantly available, and added that OMCs are providing uptake guarantee at remunerative prices.
Pradhan said that India is one of the largest energy consumers in the world, and this would further go up as the country marches ahead on the path of progress. Recalling Prime Minister Narendra Modi's clarion call for energy justice and Aatamnirbhar Bharat, Pradhan said that energy available to people should be sustainable, accessible, affordable and this would lead to energy security.
Petroleum Secretary Tarun Kapoor said that the government is fully committed to the ushering in the gas economy in the country. He called upon vehicle manufacturers to promote the factory-fitted CNG vehicles, and reduce fitting the external kits for the same, so that our transport sector can use more CNG.
Indian Oil Chairman SM Vaidya also spoke on the occasion. Senior officers of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Oil Marketing companies and the companies setting up these CNG stations attended the event virtually.
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