More than 82% of India’s land area and 98% of the population will be covered with piped cooking gas after the most recent round of extension work, the government informed the Upper House on Monday.
Replying to supplementary questions of members during Question Hour, Union Minister for Housing & Urban Affairs & Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Hardeep Singh Puri said once the award of bidding is done, it typically takes a certain number of years for the infrastructure to be laid. Bids for the expansion work will be opened on May 12 this year. “After the 11th round of bidding, we would have over 82 percent of our land area and 98 percent of our population complete so that piped cooking gas can be delivered to households,” he informed the house.
“The only population that will be left will be some areas in the North East and Jammu and Kashmir because they are widely dispersed. Typically, cooking gas that comes through the pipe is cheaper and more consumer friendly than that supplied through cylinders,” he also said. Puri said that during the pandemic, beneficiaries of the Ujjawala scheme were given free LPG cylinders.
Today the total number of gas cylinders, which stood at 14 crore in 2014, has gone up to 30 crore and “we will cover the entire population and this is a work in progress,” he also said.
“The supplies to the wholesalers somehow became more expensive than the supplies at the retail point. A lot of people who were getting discounted diesel started coming and queuing up in retail outlets. I am told that this is a market mechanism functioning issue which should resolve itself very soon as soon as there is stability in the market. The idea is not for anyone to charge wholesalers more than the retail,” Puri told the house in subsequent supplementaries.
Watch: Minister @HardeepSPuri's reply to KC(M) MP Jose K. Mani's question during #QuestionHour in #RajyaSabha regarding the Administered Price Mechanism for #CNG.@PetroleumMin #BudgetSession pic.twitter.com/faJxizeDJg
— SansadTV (@sansad_tv) March 28, 2022
In his written reply to a question, the minister said there was no proposal to come up with an Administered Price Mechanism (APM) for both CNG and LNG to ensure firm prices. He said petroleum products are outside the ambit of GST. “LNG imports are under open general licensing and any entity can directly import the same,” he said.