GAIL (India) Ltd has put West Bengal on the gas map of India after it completed laying a Rs 2,433-crore pipeline that will bring to the state cooking fuel that is cheaper than LPG and CNG that costs less than petrol and diesel, and fuel to produce urea for all its requirement.
- The 348-kilometer pipeline from Dobhi in Bihar to Durgapur in West Bengal is part of the Pradhan Mantri Urja Ganga
- Urja Ganga gas pipeline project was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his constituency Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh.
- A pipeline of length 2540 km is under construction from the states of Uttar Pradesh to Odisha.
- A paper titled Subsidies for Whom in The Economic and Political Weekly (EPW), published in 2012, shows that only 18 percent households consume LPG as cooking fuel and the rest use other ways of cooking like wood, kerosene, dung cakes etc which is harmful to their health
The scheme is directed to provide piped cooking gas to the households of Varanasi within next two years and to millions others in neighbour states after one more year.The government also plans to create 25 industrial clusters in these states which can utilise the gas as fuel and generate employment in these areas
The allocated budget for laying the 1,500 km covered long cooking gas pipelines is about ₹51,000-crore along with gas stations at various areas. The length of pipeline will be extended to 2540-km in second stage of the project.
Length wise distribution
The state of UP gets the gas line of length 338 km. Bihar state will get about 441 km long line. Jharkhand, a state in east India, gets 500 KM long and another state in eastern India, West Bengal, will have the pipe line of length 542 km and Odisha gets benefited by 718 km pipeline as per the specifications of project details issued in public.
The project is committed to provide the household members health safety by providing clean fuel with the piped gas to the locals of Varanasi and later to Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Odisha. The seven main station cities include Varanasi, Patna, Bokaro, Jamshedpur, Kolkata, Ranchi, Bhubaneswar and Cuttack as the major beneficiaries of the project.
A lot of population lives in these states where cooking gas is scarcely available in the remote areas. An estimation to serve 50,000 households is planned to get PNG and almost 20,000 vehicles will be able to get CNG gas per year. It encompasses 40 districts and 2600 villages which will get the direct benefit. The project is estimated to get complete in 2020, after which people can get gas supply at their houses itself. It can also give lot of benefits to help renewal of a number of declining fertilizer industrialised units and other sectors like Power and Automotive. In this scheme not only households but about half a million vehicles may switch over to CNG mode so that the problem of fuel in the country could be resolved. Prime minister Modi also laid a foundation stone for the 120 km long Varanasi-Allahabad railway line that will cost approximate ₹750.66 crore and provide speedy transit for cylinder and worker movements.