By Our Correspondent
NEW DELHI/BHUBANESWAR: The Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas and Steel Dharmendra Pradhan in a written reply in the Lok Sabha on Monday said that to increase the availability of natural gas across the country, the Government has envisaged to develop the National Gas Grid.
At present about 16,500 km natural gas pipeline is operational. Apart from that, Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) has authorized pipeline which are at various stages of execution. PNGRB is taking steps for development of natural gas pipeline in order to cover additional area of the country through National Gas Grid.
PNGRB has informed that approximately 1,820 km of natural gas pipelines have been commissioned during April, 2016 – March, 2019 and commissioned about 530 km pipeline up to September, 2019 in the current financial year. The targets set under PMUY have already been achieved by the Government.
With regard to coverage of population under City Gas Distribution Networks, PNGRB has so far authorized 229 Geographical Areas (GAs) covering 406 districts for development of CGD Network across the country till the 10th CGD Bidding Round, which covers around 70% of India’s population and 53% of its area. These projects are at various stages of execution.
PNGRB has authorized Bharat Gas Resource Limited (BGRL) for development of CGD Network in Jagatsinghpur and Kendrapara Districts GA under the 9th CGD Bidding Round. As per Minimum Work Program, the commitment of CGD entities are required to be achieved over a period of 8 years and under normal conditions, gas supply to this GAs is to commence from the second year onwards. PNGRB monitors the progress of the CGD projects and CGD Authorization Regulations also provide for imposition of penalty for non-achievement of the assigned targets.
Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) take comprehensive Insurance Policy under ‘Public Liability Policy for Oil Industries’ which covers all LPG consumers registered with OMCs. Public Liability Insurance Policy taken by OMCs covers losses arising out of accidents where LPG is the primary cause of fire.
Total number of LPG accidents, deaths reported and compensation paid in the last three years where LPG leakage is the primary cause of fire .OMCs provide Safety cum Insurance leaflet in Hindi/English and in vernacular languages, with pictorial representation to the customers. Information pertaining to Public Liability Insurance Policy is also available on the OMC websites. Regular safety clinics and LPG panchayats are organised by OMCs across the country to create awareness among the consumers on safe use of LPG, conservation practices and information about insurance.
Government has notified the new National Policy on Biofuels – 2018 on 08.06.2018. The salient features of the Policy are as under:
(i) Categorization of biofuels as “Basic Biofuels” and “Advanced Biofuels”,
(ii) Incentives, off-take assurance and viability gap funding for advanced biofuels,
(iii) Allowing B-molasses, sugarcane juice, damaged food grains and surplus food grains for ethanol production,
(iv) Setting up of supply chain mechanisms for biodiesel production from non-edible oilseeds, Used Cooking Oil, short gestation crops, and
(v) Synergy of efforts by defining roles and responsibilities of all the concerned Ministries/Departments with respect to biofuels.
In line with National Policy on Biofuels, Government has approved “Pradhan Mantri JI-VAN (Jaiv Indhan- Vatavaran Anukool FasalAwashesh Nivaran) Yojana” for providing financial support to Integrated Bio-Ethanol Projects using lignocellulosic biomass & other renewable feedstock, with a total financial outlay of Rs 1969.50 crore for the period 2018-19 to 2023-24.
The ethanol blended petrol percentage has progressively increased from 1.53% in ethanol supply year (ESY) 2013-14 (December 2103 to November 2014) to 4.22% in ESY 2017-18. Presently, as on 11.11.2019, 180.80 crore litre of Ethanol has been procured against target of ethanol procurement of 225 crore litre for Ethanol Supply Year 2018-19.
Department of Food & Public Distribution (DFPD) has informed that the total effective ethanol production capacity of the distilleries attached with the sugar mills in the country is about 355 crore litres per annum. DFPD has further informed that for reopening of closed public and cooperative sugar mills, responsibility lies with concerned State Governments/Union Territories. In case of private sugar mills, the entrepreneur has to take steps to reopen closed sugar mills.
Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation (SATAT) scheme envisages establishing 5000 Compressed Bio Gas (CBG) plants across the country by 2023. Under this scheme, Oil Public Sector Undertakings have invited Expression of Interest (EoI) for procuring CBG from potential entrepreneurs and has offered an assured price for off take of CBG.
The Government through Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) is implementing the Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) programme under which, OMCs sell ethanol blended petrol with percentage of ethanol upto 10% subject to its availability. OMCs procure ethanol for blending in petrol. In the current Ethanol Supply Year 2018-19, 180.80 crore litre of ethanol has been procured by OMCs upto 11.11.2019.
To encourage procurement of biodiesel produced from Used Cooking Oil (UCO), OMCs have floated Expression of Interest (EoI) for setting up of biodiesel plants from UCO processing plants on 10.08.2019 across India for 100 locations. It was further extended to 200 locations on 10.10.2019.