A national policy on City Gas Distribution (CGD) to speed up development of infrastructure for supply of piped natural gas to households as well as CNG for automobiles and industrial units is on the cards.
As a first step, the Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) has formed a “high-level committee” comprising its senior officials and those of CGD entities. The committee will undertake a detailed review of all the issues to expedite the development of piped gas networks and draft such a policy.
The decision assumes significance considering challenges, especially delay in getting approvals at the State level, that industry sources say CGD entities in certain geographical areas (GAs) are facing.
The regulator also made a reference to such a situation, while inviting inputs for the draft policy.
The CGD industry has witnessed significant progress in the last two years in terms of authorisation of GAs, PNGRB Secretary Vandana Sharma said in a note.
The number of such GAs has increased from 78 at the end of 2017 to 229 at present, covering 71% of the country’s population as against 20% two years ago.
Noting that most firms that were awarded authorisation had taken steps towards development of infrastructure, the regulator said various authorities at the Central and State governments as well as local authorities have “generally been helpful and working along with CGD entities in resolving the issues.”
Some of the entities, however, had underscored the need for a national CGD Policy to speed up development of the networks across various States.
Though the issues cited by the entities mostly come under the purview of the State governments, it was felt that a national CGD policy would serve as a guide for the States to formulate their own policy, the PNGRB said.
The draft policy is expected to dwell on various aspects, including the appointment of a nodal agency/officer by State governments to co-ordinate for granting single window clearances in a time-bound manner and the procedure to grant time-bound right-of-way permissions for CGD networks.
An important aspect the policy is likely to go into is standardisation of road restoration/permission charges across the country to ensure synergy in the process and the procedure for timely availability of permissions from NHAI and Railways besides environment approvals.
Timely allocation of domestic natural gas for domestic PNG and CNG, support required from PNGRB, allotment of government land at concessional rates (in line with electricity infrastructure) in various parts of the city for creating critical CGD infrastructure and conversion of intra-city State transport corporation fleet to CNG and long-distance inter-city fleet to LNG as well as conversion of all government accommodation, including PSUs and defence, into PNG are the other terms of reference of the committee.