Tribune News Service
Jammu, July 3
The ambitious 750-km gas pipeline project between Bathinda and Srinagar via Jammu has been pushed on the back burner as it did not see any progress during the three-year rule of the previous PDP-BJP coalition government.
What is more intriguing is that neither the former minister nor officials of the Food, Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs (FCS&CA) Department had the knowledge about the status of the state’s “dream project”.
The project was supposed to be completed within 36 months but it has been facing political and bureaucratic barriers since its approval in June 2012. The Rs 880-crore project aims to connect J&K with the National Gas Grid through the pipeline and ultimately link individual households with gas stations through a network of supply lines for round-the-clock supply of cooking gas, especially during the winter when the Kashmir valley remains covered with snow.
The proposed pipeline would originate from Bathinda and cover eight districts of Jammu and Kashmir up to its tail-end in Srinagar after passing through Haryana. It will be connected with the National Gas Grid, Mehsana, in Gujarat.
“I have no knowledge of the project. I got limited time to oversee the developmental projects being executed by the department,” said Mohammad Ashraf Mir, former FCS&CA Minister, who left the department after the fall of the PDP-BJP government on June 19.
Mir’s predecessor Choudhary Zulfikar Ali said, “It is a dream project of the state. I had pursued the project vigorously with the Central government till February this year but I don’t know its present status. We have even completed land acquisition in many districts. As per my knowledge, the project has not even started from Mehsana in Gujarat.”
Commissioner-Secretary, FCS&CA Department, Abdul Rashid, too feigned ignorance about the project. He said, “I have recently joined the department and have no information about the project.”
Even the two directors — one in the Jammu division and another in the Kashmir division — of the FCS&CA Department had no information about the project which was being “vigorously pursued with the Centre and Haryana government” till December last year.
Sources said the PDP-BJP coalition government showed “least interest” in the prestigious project during the past over three years as it (government) failed “to amicably sort out political and administrative differences” with the BJP government in Haryana.
“Earlier, the state had certain issues with the Haryana Government. Thereafter, some differences cropped up between the Centre and the Gujarat State Petronet Ltd (GSPL) due to which the project was not able to take off. This year, no efforts were made by the ruling dispensation to take up the matter either with the Centre or GSPL,” the sources said.
Attempts to contact GSPL officers in Gujarat turned futile as nobody was available for comments.
Rs 880-crore project
- The ambitious 750-km gas pipeline project between Bathinda and Srinagar via Jammu was supposed to be completed within 36 months but it has been facing political and bureaucratic barriers since its approval in June 2012.
- The Rs 880-crore project is to connect J&K with the National Gas Grid through the pipeline
- Ultimately, it will link individual households with gas stations through a network of supply lines for round-the-clock supply of cooking gas, especially during the winter
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