Also seeks status of gas pipeline project from Punjab to Srinagar
SRINAGAR: The J&K High Court has sought a reply by Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) on delay in setting up of Auto LPG Dispensing Station (ALDS) in Kashmir Valley as well as gas pipeline project from Mehsana-Bhatinda in Punjab to Srinagar.
The introduction of Auto LPG, an economical and environment friendly fuel, has remained a dream despite announcement of its early introduction in the Valley way back in 2007 by Petroleum Ministry, Government of India.
In December 2015, advocates Anil Ban, representing IOC, told high court during the hearing of a Public Interest Litigation that ALDS will be commissioned in Srinagar in April 2016 subject to the permission granted by the concerned authorities.
Nearly a year later, amicus curie in the PIL against traffic mess in Kashmir, advocate Jawad Reshi told high court that despite its repeated directions ALDS as well as gas pipeline project from Mehsana-Bhatinda in Punjab to Srinagar has remained in limbo.
Considering Reshi’s submissions, a division bench of Justices R Sudhakar and Ali Mohammad Magrey directed advocate Anil Ban to inform the court as to why there was delay in setting up the ALDS.
“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.
In 2013, the high 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.
Advocate Reshi reiterated before the court that there are 13 lakh vehicles registered in the state and the number gets increased by around one lakh each year.
He said despite court directions that 15 year-old vehicles should be banned in the state, the direction was not implemented on ground. He said non implementation of court directions should be viewed seriously as further delay in complying with the orders will have disastrous results.
Last year, the court had also sought status of Mehsana-Batinda in Punjab to Srinagar via Jammu gas pipeline, a vital project which was tipped to transport 75 million standard cubic meters of natural gas per day to energy-deficient state.
The direction was issued by the court to Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) which holds 26% stake in consortium among various companies involved in the project. The Gujarat State Petronet Limited (GSPL), having 52% state in the consortium, is executing the over 700-km Bhatinda-Jammu-Srinagar pipeline. The project was envisaged some six years ago and in May 2013, the government of India gave environmental clearance to the project which was then estimated to come at a cost of Rs 6500cr. Soon after getting the clearance, the GSPL had claimed that the state government would bring ordinance for Right of User (RoU) for land for laying the pipeline.