Six years ago on July 7, 2011 the Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) had authorized Gujarat State Petronet Limited (GSPL), a subsidiary of the Gujarat Government, to lay Bhatinda-Jammu-Srinagar gas pipeline to ensure gas supply for industrial, commercial and domestic use in Jammu and Kashmir, whose major portion remains cut-off from rest of the country during rainy and winter seasons. However, the project has not seen the light of the day.
Not to speak of laying the pipeline, there emerged a number of issues, controversies and objections not only from the people whose lands were to be acquired for laying the pipeline but also from some Government organizations like the Forest Department, Environment Department etc. They had their reasons. In any case the project has remained in limbo till date and the purpose of alleviating the suffering of the people remained defeated.
What happened to the project after identifying the route and land from Chak Devian village in Kathua district to Smailpur, a distance of 67 kilometers in Samba remains unknown. The route and land both were identified and even notices were issued to the owners of the land, yet no work on the ground has even been started. Moreover, route of the pipeline beyond Smailpur in Samba district is yet to be finalized.
It is not necessary to recount the difficulties faced by the people of the State especially those who are living in far flung areas, to meet their fuel requirements. Laying of pipelines and bringing gas to the people in the State was perhaps a very sensible decision for two reasons. One was to provide uninterrupted gas supplies to the people of the State and make life easier. The second purpose was to save the forests from being damaged by the villagers who would cut down young trees for use as fuel producing source. Since the project remains unimplemented, the above mentioned difficulties remain. Actually, it has been observed that the Government is not pursuing the matter with all the seriousness with which it should have done. Ironically even the Union Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, too, has been sleeping over the matter. It is callousness on the part of the Government authorities to adopt irresponsible attitude towards such a crucial project. Enough is enough and the trend in the country today is to revive the halfway left projects and bring these to completion. It was on the behest of GIGL that the Government of the State brought a legislation to facilitate laying of the gas pipeline. But unfortunately despite all this nothing tangible has been done to ease the suffering of the people.