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Gujarat has 2200km gas grid, TN shuns this!

For 25 years, I have been arguing the case for the south to get a fair share of natural gas and LPG, which are predominantly being consumed by Gujarat, Maharashtra and a few northern states. Despite the phenomenal progress registered by Gujarat in effectively utilising gas, southern entrepreneurs have not been willing to move out of businesses like cement, sugar, textiles, automobiles - engineering and IT. Over 2200 km of gas grid provide piped gas supply to 15 lakh households in Gujarat and it also meets the needs for gas by the two gas terminals at its minor ports to import gas.

Anticipating freedom to market gas, Reliance Industries constructed a 1400 km pipeline connecting Kakinada with Baruch in Gujarat.

The Parliament directed GAIL and Reliance to construct, before December 2012, a strong gas grid for the southern states, by constructing pipeline from Dabhol in Maharashtra and Kochi in Kerala; but politicians and chief ministers of south have constantly been neglecting the efficiency of gas and did not evince enough interest in the pipeline construction. Had the construction been completed, the large fertilizer plants of FACT, MFL, MCFL and SPIC would have been saved from decay and total collapse. Also, piped gas supply could have been installed in dozens of towns and villages with spur lines from the main pipelines.

On opposition from a few hundred farmers, the Tamil Nadu government abruptly stopped construction of the gas pipeline by GAIL connecting Kochi with Bengaluru via Tamil Nadu. Reliance bided time for an increase in gas prices and it did not proceed ahead with the construction of the pipeline from Kakinada to Thoothukudi and Bengaluru via Chennai. It is time the Tamil Nadu Government sent a team of officials, MLAs, business leaders and journalists to Gujarat to look at the immense advantages of gas.


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