Jharkhand PNG pipeline hits forest clearance, land acquisition hurdle

Ranchi (IANS) GAIL India Limited’s plan for supply of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and domestic Piped Natural Gas (PNG) in Jharkhand has hit the forest clearance and land acquisition hurdle.

GAIL officials said the company plans to commission 22 stations for supply of CNG to 1.25 lakh vehicles in Ranchi and Jamshedpur.

It also plans to lay down a 551-km pipeline for supply of piped natural gas (PNG) to 10.46 lakh households across 12 districts, including Ranchi, Chatra, Giridih, Hazaribagh, Bokaro, Ramgarh, Dhanbad, Saraikela, Khunti, Gumla, Simdega and East Singhbhum.

“Initially the natural gas will reach in special containers which will be transported by road from Patna. Later, the natural gas will be supplied through Jamshedpur-Haldia and Bokaro-Dharama pipeline popularly known as Pradhan Mantri Urja Ganga. The pipeline under construction will be completed by December 2020,” said K.B.Singh, Executive Director of GAIL eastern region, at the inauguration of two CNG stations in Ranchi on Thursday.

“The CNG supply plan is a major step towards the fulfillment of Prime Minister’s dream of developing a gas-based economy and linking Eastern India to the country’s natural gas grid through PMUGY, which will pass through six states, including Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Orissa and Assam,” said Singh.

Work has started on the Rs 4,366-crore project. “But forest clearance and land acquisition remain major issues in its completion, though we are getting full support from the state government,” Singh admitted on Thursday.

“The forest laws are very tight and getting clearances is tough for us. So there are clearance issues with around 114 kms of forest land,” a source in GAIL told IANS.

“Land acquisition is another big problem. We find difficult to acquire land and compensate the owners as the land records are as old as 1916 and it is tough to demarcate raiyati land from government land. In many places, a single piece of land has so many claimants. We cannot compensate anyone for land without verifying facts,” said the source.

Asked about the state’s single window clearance system to help investors and industries, the source said: “The single widow clearance system exists in Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Odisha as well, but the ground realities are different.”

The GAIL source also spoke about the Maoist menace prevailing in Chatra, Khunti, Gumla and East Singhbhum.

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