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Piped gas for Goans: So close and yet SO far

Goa’s piped gas project the commissioning of which is highly delayed got its first boost recently with Crompton and Greaves, Kundaim, the first company in the state signing the gas purchase agreement with Goa Natural Gas Pvt. Ltd. (GNG), the company that is implementing the project.

“Crompton and Greaves signed for 1,000 standard cubic meters per day (scmd) of gas. More companies are likely to sign up as we are seriously approaching large industries in Kundiam, Madkai and Usgoan, to purchase natural gas from us,” said Ajay Kumar Jindal, chief executive officer, GNG. 

He feels that, industry in Goa is ready to switch to a cleaner fuel and reveals that, discussions are in an advanced stage with Godrej Locks, Madkai for sale of natural gas. Jindal recently joined as the new CEO of GNG and in previous assignment executed GAIL’s Bangalore piped gas project where over one lakh households got natural gas connection for cooking. He is hopeful that the state’s piped gas project will be commissioned soon and Goans get to enjoy piped gas for cooking.

“Natural gas for cooking, vehicles, industrial and commercial use is more than two decades old in states like Assam. It is a trend that is steadily spreading to all states and Goa for sure will also switch to natural gas in future,” he prophesies.  He points out that, the project is on track presently as things are moving and the government is ready to resolve hurdles.

 The state recently appointed Anthony D’Souza as the new nodal officer for the project. It is an appointed that is being viewed in positive light by GNG officials since D’Souza having been with the Gokak-Goa gas pipeline project since inception in 2013 is well versed with the difficulties in implementation.

Appraising the progress, Jindal says that, Ponda households are expected to get piped gas in their kitchens latest by January 1 2020, while industries in Kundaim-Madkai-Usgaon belt are likely to get it earlier. “We needs to set up a DRS station in Ponda city and also constructs a 500 meter connecting pipeline. With monsoons in the state the pipeline can be laid only in October,”” discloses Jindal.

He says that, a total of 1,000 households in Ponda city have paid the Rs 500 registration fee. GNG officials will soon approach the households for installation of the GI gas meter. The installation of the gas meter will be on payment of security (refundable) deposit of Rs 5,000.

“Infrastructure for supply of piped gas to Ponda households is complete. It comprises 25km of pipe network. For CNG to the transport sector we need a city gate station. The station will come up in Madkai. It is over 2,300 sq. mtr. of land for which 50 per cent of the cost is paid to the Communidade.  The balance 50 per cent of the cost will be paid after we get ownership of the land from the state government.  Post ownership we need to get the license from Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO), Nagpur,” says Jindal, adding that construction work of the city gate station is nearly complete but to commence supply of CNG the company has to construct a four-km pipeline along the national highway.

Presently the company is looking at piped gas supply to the localities of Ponda- old Goa- and Panjim. In Panjim about 25 km of pipeline network is complete is Taliegao and Caranzalem localities. Another 15-km of pipeline is to be added in Panjim city. A second DRS station is to be constructed mostly around the Goa Medical College for which efforts are on to identify the land.

All the jobs are being carried out simultaneously and commission of the work will be mostly together, says Jindal. He says the GAIL-BPCL joint venture has so far spent Rs 60 crore on the works and another Rs 100 crore will have to be spent for the infrastructure work to complete. In longer term the company is also planning to supply piped gas to households in

Porvorim.

The 175 km pipeline is built at an estimated at Rs 800 crore (including compensation) for the Gokak-Goa stretch, although the full cost of it, from Dhabol (Maharashtra) to Karnataka is around Rs 4,500 crore.

Goa’s piped gas project dates to 2013 when a 175 km pipeline was built by GAIL at an estimated cost of Rs 800 crore (including compensation) from Dhabol (Maharashtra) to Karnataka Gokak-Goa. The cost of the gas pipeline was  around Rs 4,500 crore, while the Gokak-Goa stretch was built at an estimated cost of Rs 800 crore. Two industries in the state- Zuari Agro Chemicals and Binani Glass,  currently use natural gas as fuel and they receive their supply directly from GAIL. 

“The project looks delayed but we received authorization from PNGRB only in 2016 when we got the mandate for distribution in north Goa district,” explains Jindal. He adds, that, although permissions to lay the city distribution network was time consuming, the “project is on track now.”

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