Work on Piped Cooking Gas to Guwahati Homes to Commence in 2021 | Guwahati News

Sunday, 24 January 2021


Work on Piped Cooking Gas to Guwahati Homes to Commence in 2021

Nibir Deka | January 09, 2021 19:13 hrs

Ahead in the coming year, a new development project has been claimed to be starting in Guwahati. The city is expected to receive gas supply through pipes to each house in the city. The ambitious project is expected to be rolled out for domestic, commercial, and industrial units. 

The project is intended to cover approximately 3,20,000 people and will begin by 2021 end and or at the beginning of 2022. 

The piped supply is to be rolled out for two geographical areas, one in Barak Valley - Cachar, Hailakandi, and Karimganj, and the other being the Kamrup Metro and the Kamrup Rural districts. 

The project will be led by Purba Bharati Gas Limited (PBGL), which is a joint venture of Assam Gas Company Limited (AGCL), Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL) and Oil India Limited (OIL). AGCL will have 48%, GAIL will have 26% and OIL will have 26% stakes in the company. This was informed to G Plus by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of PBGL, Abhijit Barua.

The PBGL has claimed that they have received adequate support the parent companies in the form of funds and equity. The AGCL has also helped them with materials and they have utilized the GAIL gas policy framework for the project.

On the status of the project, the CEO has revealed that gas allocation has not happened. As per an insider, the Guwahati source is from Barauni and due to that there are few bottlenecks associated with the supply. As such a delay has occurred, this might extend to 2021 end.

Meanwhile, in the other geographical area in Cachar, the work has started slowly in the allocation of gas with even the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) bidding for the same. GAIL is also overseeing the project. However, it is not completed as of yet. 

Why is the delay?

As per the officials, the ambitious project would require the cooperation of the government and local authorities. For a city like Guwahati, the added challenge has been the availability of free land across the roadside. For the gas to reach individual homes, the Purba Bharati Gas Limited (PBGL) will have to open cut a major portion of the roads. 

Different pipelines will have to be inserted across the city depending on the road viability. For example, on GS Road, steel pipelines might be preferred but the space for such a procedure will be difficult to ascertain depending on the space of the road. This will be an added difficulty in the old parts of the Guwahati, including areas such as Athgaon. 

The open cut is expected to be 1 metre in depth, the Polyethylene (PE) will be about four to five inches and the steel pipeline will be about 12 inches. "Things might upset the local people at first but they have to think about the greater good," added Abhijit Barua. 

The CEO envisioned that profitability will be the biggest factor for the public to support the initiative. The expense of the pipe gas will be cheaper as compared to the conventional methods. 

Viability of the gas pipe plan

The biggest concern so far has been that of the viability of the issue. Although, the PBGL has planned for an eight year term to complete the project, yet the project finds architectural, financial and other challenges. 

The biggest concern is that of the utility space - the area where supply lines such as gas and other basic necessities pass through. There is a complete lack of utility space when it comes to Guwahati. This concern has been raised by the gas authority as well the as Public Works Department (PWD). G Plus spoke to Dilip Hazarika, Chief Engineer, who acknowledged the lack of utility space. "In Nagpur it was done and even revenue was earned through such spaces. But since Guwahati is a flood prone area, the slabs are kept open by the Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) for de-silting. This will hinder such initiatives," added Hazarika. 

De-silting is a process where the garbage is taken out of the drains and kept near the drain to dry out, later to be picked up by the GMC trucks. This is an important way to control the artificial floods which are a regular occurrence during the monsoon season. 

Can the different departments chalk out a plan?

The PGCL has revealed that the map has been readied and in two months they can begin. In the meantime, they have approached the individual departments like PWD, GMDA, GMC of Guwahati informally. They further plan to approach them at an official level in the coming months. 

The CEO of PBGL has also stated that inter-departmental cooperation will be the key for the success of the project. The PWD has also expressed optimism for the project provided necessary compensation is done for the rehabilitation of the already made constructions. 

"These are essential services and in that manner, if permission is given, we can discuss with them. In Delhi they are doing it via horizontal drilling and we can also go that route with 30 to 40 metre drilling. For that we would require sophisticated machines," a high level PWD engineer told G Plus.  

As on December 20, the GMC and the GMDA have not been apprised of the project as per two senior level officials of the respective departments.

Is it worth the effort?

The PBGL revealed that the fuel will be cleaner with better safety features. "As the LPG gets settled in the bottom there is always the risk of gas getting trapped in the surrounding. But our natural gas is lighter and will diffuse easily," said Abhijit Barua. 

The PBGL has claimed that their services will be easy on the pocket for the residents of Guwahati by at least Rs 150. Further, there will not be an issue of carrying the cylinders, which damage the flooring and require manual labour.

The already implemented pipe supply in Jorhat has seen problems of gas distribution when a new connection is installed in the neighbourhood. The PBGL has acknowledged those problems and stated to limit them.

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