GAIL Group Targets 11.44 Lakh Piped Cooking Gas Connections In FY20
State-owned GAIL India Ltd. and its affiliates have set a target to provide 11.44 lakh piped cooking gas connections in the current fiscal as they chase what now looks like a highly improbable target of connecting one crore households with environment-friendly fuel by next year.
GAIL and its joint ventures such as the ones that retail compressed natural gas and piped cooking gas in Delhi and Mumbai had achieved just 60 percent of the target to give 11.25 lakh connections in the 2018-19 fiscal year, according to company's target document reviewed by PTI.
In March 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had pledged to provide piped natural gas connections to one crore households "in the next four years". India had about 26 lakh households using gas received from a pipeline in the kitchen in 2015 and the government was keen for a massive expansion of piped cooking gas to help cut down the usage of subsidised liquefied petroleum gas .
LPG thus freed can be used to replace kerosene and forest wood for cooking in rural and remote areas.
Later, the one crore deadline was pushed back by a year to 2020. But even this delayed deadline now looks improbable to achieve.
Together with other private city gas distribution firms, piped cooking gas users in India rose from 42.65 lakh in March 2018 to over 52 lakh a year later. This has risen to 54.17 lakh as on Sept. 1, according to the oil ministry's Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell.
Industry officials said the biggest push for piped cooking gas use would come when entities that have been authorised by Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board in two bid rounds in the last one-year start work. When they come on stream, such users will jump many fold, they said.
With a licence to retail CNG and piped gas to household kitchens given out for 136 geographical areas in last one year, the coverage of city gas network would be 70 percent of country's population, they said, adding household kitchens getting piped cooking gas would reach 5 crore by 2030 once full rollout is achieved in all the cities licensed.
To achieve Prime Minister's target of 1 crore piped natural gas users by 2020, a massive 45 lakh connections will have to be given in one year.
But the biggest city gas distribution group GAIL is only targeting 11.44 lakh in year to March 31, 2020, according to the company document.
This target comprises 3.4 lakh new connections each in the national capital region and Mumbai and adjoining towns, and another 1.43 lakh in Pune.
This target compares to 11.02 lakh piped natural gas users in the national capital region and 12.77 lakh in Mumbai and adjoining cities, according to the GAIL document.
In 2018-19, GAIL and its affiliates had targeted 3 lakh connections in the national capital region and Mumbai and adjoining cities. Against this, Indraprastha Gas Ltd issued a record 2.1 lakh connections while Mahanagar Gas Ltd. enrolled 1.68 lakh new users.
Pune currently has 1.68 lakh users getting piped natural gas in their kitchens.
Other cities where GAIL and its affiliates are targeting new users include Kanpur, Agra and Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh, Indore and Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh, Kakinada, Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh and Hyderabad in Telangana.