Nerkundram project to offer facility; role of residents’ associations crucial to maintenance

The Tamil Nadu Housing Board too is set to join the bandwagon of builders who offer centralised gas supply in residential complexes. The TNHB plans to experiment with a reticulated LPG network of pipelines in its project at Nerkundram where 1,016 residential units are being constructed.

According to sources in the TNHB, the plan is to have metering at the stilt-level of each multi-storey building and supply gas through a common pipeline.

“This would do away with the requirement of residents remaining at home waiting for the gas cylinder to be supplied,” said a source.

Officials of the Board have already visited several apartment complexes and studied the usage, the various issues involved in installation of such systems and spoken to users. “We are studying the safety issues in the system. The maintenance by the residential welfare associations is a key aspect of this project,” said an official.

In addition to the 120 High-Income Group(HIG) houses and the 288 Low-income Houses(LIG) houses, 608 apartments will also be built for all India Services officers as part of the Rs. 400 crore-project.

The Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board is also mulling over providing reticulated gas supply in the 220 HIG apartments that are to come up at Perumbakkam.

This concept is not new to the city and has been used in many apartment complexes, malls and star hotels.

“Cylinders can be stored elsewhere and that space can be used for something else. It does not spoil the floor in the kitchen. And you need not be afraid of a cylinder leak in the kitchen,” said a user.

Another user and secretary of Orchards Apartments in Vadapalani, Udayasankar, said that residents of the apartment complex had been using the system since 2010. “We have not had any problems with it as regular maintenance is done. There is a small service charge for this and a small portion of gas is lost due to evaporation and exposure to sunlight. But the additional charges are immaterial to many families here as in most cases, both the spouses are employed and nobody would have the time to book a cylinder and wait for its delivery,” he said.

According to M. Muralidhar of Agni gas technologies Pvt. Ltd, maintenance is the key to the system running well. “Unless the residential welfare association is strong and residents are willing to pay a small percentage towards maintenance and conversion of gas, it won’t work. A lot of work is involved in running the system. Flexible hoses inside gas bank have to be changed once in 18 months and painting of pipes is necessary every two years,” he said.

In an apartment complex with a 100 units, the system would cost between Rs. 11,500 and Rs. 14,500 per household. Civil works would be an additional expense.

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