“Alarmingly increasing vehicle pollution levels in the NCR”

IGL asked to facilitate supply within two weeks

GAIL directed to supervise the pipelines

NEW DELHI: In view of alarmingly increasing vehicle pollution levels in the National Capital Region, the Supreme Court on Friday directed the Union Government to facilitate supply of environment-friendly Compressed Natural Gas to two private companies in Gurgaon and Faridabad by April 21.

A special forest bench of the Court headed by Chief Justice K. G. Balakrishnan in its interim order asked the Government-owned Indraprastha Gas Ltd (IGL) to facilitate supply of CNG to fuel stations set up by two private companies, Adani Energy and Haryana Gas Distributors, in Gurgaon and Faridabad, respectively, within two weeks.

It asked IGL to supply 0.25 mmscm CNG per day each to the gas stations constructed and operated by the two companies latest by April 21.

IGL is a joint venture between the gas transmission and marketing company GAIL and the exploration major ONGC.

The bench also said the pricing worked out by GAIL and the connectivities of the national pipeline with the grids set up in the two cities should be completed by April 21. The bench also directed GAIL to supervise the pipelines of these companies and the construction of connecting pipelines from its grid to these stations.

“This is an interim order and would not be set as a precedent for other States as the pollution in both the cities in the National Capital Region is increasing alarmingly,” the order said.

The companies would also be getting Rs.1.20 per kg of gas as a commission like other CNG stations in Delhi.

Senior counsel Mukul Rohtagi and K. K. Venugopal, appearing for the private companies, had sought a direction to GAIL for using its pipeline for bringing its own CNG from the Gujarat coast to its retail outlets in Gurgaon and Faridabad.

Mr. Rohtagi, appearing for Adani, said the company had established retail pumps in Gurgaon and Faridabad in Haryana for supply of the gas to public transport buses, but due to lack of pipeline the gas could not be transported from Adani’s gas wells in Gujarat, he argued, adding that “now it is an era of public-private participation, the government should allow the private company to use its pipeline to get gas for the users in Haryana”. Adani said it had laid down its pipeline from Gujarat to Delhi borders after investing more than Rs.100 crore and would require about 20,000 million cubic cm of gas for 100 buses.

The Haryana distributing company submitted that IGL had been given monopoly in the gas distribution though it had failed in the open auction. To curb pollution in the NCR, Haryana counsel Anoop Chaudhari said the authorities had bought 100 buses fitted with gas kits for running them and they were lying idle as there was ban on plying diesel buses in Delhi.

However, Additional Solicitor-General Gopal Subramanium, appearing for GAIL, opposed the move but later conceded the demand for supply of gas to these stations. Amicus curiae Harish Salve, who is assisting the court in environmental matters, said the pollution levels in Delhi had touched dangerous levels. - PTI