Govt claims to make cheaper natural gas available to almost half the country's population spread across 26 states with this plan to be launched on 22nd November from Vigyan bhavan
Prime Minister Narendra Modi would lay the Foundation Stones of City Gas Distribution (CGD) Projects in 65 Geographical Areas (GAs), to be specific in 129 Districts on 22nd November remotely from Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi. A press release issued by PIB says "It would herald the availability of convenient, environment-friendly and cheaper natural gas for almost half of the country’s population spread across 26 States and Union Territories upto 9th round". The new expansion is being done under the 9th CGD Bidding Round awarded recently by PNGRB. To boost the expansion of PNG/CNG network, PNGRB launched 9th CGD bidding round in April, 2018 for 86 Geographical Areas covering 174 districts in 22 States/ Union Territories.
Development of CGD network
Modi government has put thrust to promote the usage of environment friendly clean fuel i.e. natural gas as a fuel/feedstock across the country to move towards a gas based economy. Accordingly, development of CGD networks has been focused to increase the availability of cleaner cooking fuel (i.e. PNG) and transportation fuel (i.e. CNG) to the citizens of the country. The expansion of CGD network will also benefit to industrial and commercial units by ensuring the uninterrupted supply of natural gas.
Supply of clean fuel reaching half the country's population
Till September 2018, 96 cities/Districts in different parts of the country were covered for development of CGD networks. About 46.5 lakh households and 32 lakh CNG vehicles are availing the benefit of clean fuel through existing CGD networks. Subsequent to processing of received bids, grants of authorization have been issued to the successful bidders to develop CGD network for 84 GAs at present.
"It would herald the availability of convenient, environment-friendly and cheaper natural gas for almost half of the country’s population spread across 26 States and Union Territories upto 9th round"
As per commitment made by various entities in this bidding round, around 2 crore PNG (Domestic) connections and 4600 CNG stations are expected to be installed in next 8 years across the country. Government claims this has expanded the potential coverage of CGDs to about 50% of country’s population spreading over 35% of India's area.
Natural Gas: A cheaper & environment friendly fuel option
Natural gas is a superior fuel as compared with coal and other liquid fuels being an environment friendly, safer and cheaper fuel. Natural Gas is supplied through pipelines just like one gets water from the tap. There is no need to store cylinders in the kitchen and thus saves space. As per WHO database released in May 2018, India has 14 out of 15 world’s most polluted cities in terms of PM 2.5 concentration. Large number of industries also consume polluting fuels like pet coke and furnace oil which emit polluting CO2. Some of the courts recently ordered for banning use of pet coke in states within their jurisdiction. Natural Gas (as CNG) is cheaper by 60% as compared with petrol and 45 % w.r.t. Diesel. Similarly, Natural Gas (as PNG) is cheaper by 40 % as compared with market price LPG and price of PNG almost matches with that of subsidised LPG (based on prices in Delhi).