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Green fuel to Kolkata: NGT seeks status report

Tirthankar Mitra |

Post-1977 leaders from this state, be it late chief minister Jyoti Basu or the present incumbent Mamata Banerjee, have never let go an opportunity to cite instances of Centre&’s deprivation of the state – ranging from a lesser share of Central funds or setting up of projects.

It&’s now the turn of environmental activist Subhas Dutta to move a petition before the Kolkata Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) seeking its intervention to kick-start projects to supply environment-friendly green fuel to Kolkata and eastern region.

Allowing the petition, the tribunal, comprising Justice (retired) Pratap Roy and P C Misra, on Monday issued notices to Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL), Hindustan Petroleum Limited (HPL), Greater Calcutta Gas Supply Corporation, Union ministries of environment, petroleum, state transport and environment departments. The tribunal directed these respondents to file status report in four weeks on the supply of green fuel to the state and give reasons why it cannot be given.

On 17 November, 2011 an agreement to float a joint venture has been signed by representatives of GAIL, HPL, Greater Calcutta Gas Supply Corporation Limited. While this company – to supply green fuel to Kolkata and adjoining areas – is yet to be formed, a similar firm has been set up in Uttar Pradesh within five months of its MoU being inked, the petition stated contending stepmotherly attitude towards the state.

The MoU for the formation of this company named Green Gas was signed in 11 May , 2005 and it was formed on 7 October the same year, the petition stated underscoring its contention. The company formed in five months is now supplying compressed natural gas (CNG) from 14 outlets.

Kolkata and the eastern region, the petition stated has been “intentionally neglected and ignored in the matter of supply of green fuel to cut down pollution”. In 2007, GAIL decided to set up five natural gas pipelines which included 2,050 kilometre pipeline between Jagdishpur and Haldia. Except this, the other four projects have been completed. The Jagdishpur-Haldia project is in the “planning stage” till date almost eight years after its conception.

But GAIL did not drag its feet over other projects having formed 12 joint ventures, including one for gas supply to China and two subsidiary companies, the petition stated. It has laid 10,900 km of pipelines for natural gas and 2040 km for LPG, it was further stated.