SRINAGAR: Terming the explanation by Indian Oil Corporation on non-installation of Auto LPG Dispensing Station (ALDS) as “not plausible and unacceptable”, the J&K high court has directed it to file monthly status report about the progress in setting up of the facility in the Kashmir Valley.
The directions by a division bench of Justices Mohammad Yaqoob Mir and Janak Raj Kotwal followed perusal of a status report filed by the authorities of IOC in compliance to court’s directions in a Public Interest Litigation.
In the report, the IOC authorities stated that they had taken decision to install ALDS at M/S Azad Filling Station here.
“A technical team of the Corporation inspected the site but during the inspection it was found that there was already an underground petroleum tank at the site where the Corporation wanted to install ALDS.”
Later, it said, the technical team inspected a new site at M/s Jhelum Service Station and the same was found fit for installing ALDS as being free from all hindrances including re-alignment facilities.
However, Jawad Reshi, amicus curies in the PIL, pointed out that from the year 2013, the Corporation was sleeping over the matter. “It is in the year 2013 M/s Azad Filling Station, Srinagar was identified as the site for installing Auto LPG Dispensing Station, now after three years they say that the site is not feasible,” he said, adding, “May be that is true but what they had done for the last three years.”
Advocate Anil Bhan, representing the IOC submitted that in the year 2014 there was devastating floods while as there was unrest for almost six months last year.
“ The explanation tendered is not that plausible. It is true that there was devastating flood in the month of September 2014 but that lasted only for three months. It is not known what they have been doing from 13th December 2013 till September 2014 and thereafter in the year 2015. Even though in the year 2016 there was un-rest but approximately for six months. It appears that the Corporation has been working with absolute non-seriousness,” the court observed.
“Indolence has been exhibited. Such type of approach is exhibited when the matter is being monitored by the Court; what would happen otherwise. What the Corporation has done so far is totally unacceptable,” the court added.
In the status report , the Corporation said that it requires nine months time to complete and commission the Auto LPG Dispensing Station in Srinagar. “Initially we were not inclined to grant time but granting time is imperative so as to make possible for the Corporation to ensure installation of Auto LPG Dispensing Station,” the court said and directed the Corporation to file status at the end of each month so as to show the progress for requisite installation.
“In addition thereto respondent-Corporation shall also apprise the Court as to how many such Auto LPG Dispensing Station they intend to install in the Jammu as well as in the Kashmir Provinces.”
Hitherto, the introduction of Auto LPG, an economical and environment friendly fuel, remained a dream despite announcement of its early introduction in the Valley way back in 2007 by Petroleum Ministry, Government of India.
The court 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.
“In the order dated 29.12.2015, it was noticed that laying of regular Gas Pipeline from Mehsana-Batinda in Punjab to Srinagar via Jammu has not taken off, when the project was launched some years back,” the court said, adding that advocate Bhan had to file response but till date same has not been filed.
“ Both Mr. Bhan and Mr. (B A) Dar, AAG shall file their respective responses by or before next date,” the court added.
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 seven 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.