HC unhappy over lack of progress on Auto LPG in Kashmir

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir High Court has expressed displeasure at the lack of progress in setting up of Auto LPG dispensing outlets in Kashmir Valley and has directed the Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. to file a status report in this regard by July 8.
Hearing a Public Interest Litigation, a division bench of Chief Justice M M Kumar and Justice Muzaffar Hussain Attar passed the order following perusal of a status report filed by the State’s Transport Commissioner.
In the report, the Commissioner has disclosed that in response to a letter sent by his office, a communication has been received from the Indian Oil Corporation Ltd, stating that required formalities are being done and necessary statutory approvals are being obtained for installation of the Auto LPG dispensing outlets in Valley.
“The response given by the Indian Oil Corporation is not only vague and cryptic but does not disclose any progress made,” the Bench said and impleaded the IOC through its Deputy General Manager, Chandigarh, as party respondent in the PIL “so that effective directions are issued to the Corporation.”
“A copy of other such orders dealing with the issue be also sent to the (IOC) (which) shall file status on or before next date of hearing (on July 8)”.
The introduction of Auto LPG, an economical and environment friendly fuel, has remained a distant dream despite announcement of its early introduction in the Valley way back in 2007 by Petroleum Ministry, Government of India.
“Auto LPG will be introduced in the state in a big way to protect environment. It will be started with Srinagar”, then Petroleum Secretary MS Srinivasan had told reporters here during his visit to Valley in June 2007.
LPG would be an intermediate arrangement till a CNG (compressed natural gas) pipeline is extended to the state, Srinivasan had said.
The assurance had come against the back drop of directions by the High Court, asking the state government and the Government of India to establish a CNG pipeline network in the state.
Last year, Court had also asked the state government to explore the possibility of switching over to green technologies to reduce the pollution levels by introducing hybrid vehicles in the twin capital cities of Jammu and Srinagar.
Meanwhile, in another direction the court directed concerned authorities to file by July 8 a report by the expert body of RITES Pvt Ltd, a Government of India enterprise which provides consultancy and project management services in the transport infrastructure, regarding Patha Chowk Bus Stand.
The direction followed submission by advocate Javid Iqbal, counsel for Srinagar Development Authority, that the expert body of RITES India Ltd. has been contacted and their team was likely to visit the Bus Stand to take stock of the ground realties and then make their suggestions.
The court also directed expedition of the fencing work on Sports Council land, which was unlawfully used by sumo drivers adjacent to TRC here.
The court was hearing a Public Interest Litigation— Kashmir Consumer Welfare Forum Vs state, seeking streamlining of flawed traffic system in the summer capital of the state.