Whither gas pipeline project

The fate of Bhatinda-Jammu- Srinagar gas pipeline project is appearing to be in touch and go State, going by the abysmally low pace of work on the project which was publicized with a lot of promise nearly a year ago. How much of importance this project can be for a State like Jammu and Kashmir, hardly needs any emphasis to be laid on. Why has the project remained out of the focus of the Government despite the fact that GSPL India Gasnet Limited (GIGL) is soft peddling on finalization of route and acquisition of right of user in land from Lakhanpur up to Srinagar for unknown reasons.
In July 2011, the Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) sanctioned Bhatinda – Jammu – Srinagar gas pipeline project and entrusted the task of laying 725 kilometers long gas pipeline to GSPL India Gasnet Limited. What followed was the State Government approaching Union Petroleum Ministry many a time for completing all relevant formalities at an earliest possible convenience. Those included identification of route and acquisition of right of user in land from Lakhanpur to Srinagar by GSPL India Gasnet Limited so that the pipelines laying started at the earliest.
Perhaps,at all concerned quarters in position to take decisions  either underestimated the dire need of supplying gas to the consumers through pipelines as is done in most of the cities of the country or adopted an indifferent attitude , possibly passing the buck from one authority to the other, resulting in the project remaining completely out of focus of the State Government so much so that nothing worthwhile that generating some optimism about the fate of the pipelines is worth noting. Finalization of the route of the entire gas pipeline and acquisition of right of user in land from Lakhanpur up to Srinagar continues to be bogged up in surmises.
However, the last seven years track record of moving things in this direction is confined to the finalization of gas pipeline only in Kathua and Samba districts but land acquisition process for 67 kilometer route from Chak Devian village in Kathua district to Smailpur in Samba district has yet not reached logical conclusion. Besides, an Act too was enacted by the State Government namely Jammu and Kashmir Underground Public Utilities (Acquisition of Rights of User in Land) 2014. Needless to add, this special legislation has been enacted to provide for acquisition of right of user in land for laying of gas pipeline and other underground public utilities in the State.
The caravan is stuck up at Smailpur and beyond that, up to Srinagar,  no route has been identified  and only reconnaissance has been conducted by the GIGL. Formalities of obtaining   no objection certificates from Government departments like Forest Department etc even have not been made . It is high time the State Government moved things in right earnest and for all intents and purposes, take up the issue with the Union Petroleum Ministry for using their good offices and possibly an intervention so that all the remaining formalities in run up to laying gas pipelines are completed to make the dream of distribution of gas through pipelines laid from Bhatinda- Jammu -Srinagar a reality in the State of Jammu and Kashmir.-


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