State inks MoU with GAIL for natural energy supply
The Jharkhand government on Thursday supported Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet project Energy Highway for Eastern India, clearing the deck for commissioning work for the 450km natural gas pipeline in the state. The Raghubar Das-led NDA government signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL) and promised all support in completing the second phase of the Rs 12,000 crore project within the 2019 deadline. “GAIL will get all help from us. We will provide as much land it requires,” Das said after the MoU was signed at the city-based Project Building. GAIL will set up a 174km main line and 165km spur line in Jharkhand as part of the 2,050km Jagdishpur-Phulpur-Haldia gas pipeline project connecting Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal. The project aims to connect eastern India to the national natural gas grid. GAIL chairman-cum-managing director B C Tripathi said the pipeline will pass through six districts — Bokaro, Giridih, Hazaribag, Dhanbad, East Singbhum and Ranchi. “The total investment is estimated at Rs 2,500 crore,” Tripathi said. Apart from the Jagdishpur-Haldia pipeline, GAIL is planning to set up another pipeline connecting Bokaro, Ranchi through Angul district in Odisha up to Paradeep, GAIL officials said. However, the Ranchi-Angul pipeline will be developed under a public-private partnership, for which expression of interests have already been invited, Tripathi said. According to GAIL estimates, the natural gas demand in Jharkhand is estimated to reach 8.8 million metric standard cubic metre per day (MMSCMPD). “Despite having plenty of fossil fuels, we are committed towards generating clean energy,” Das said. “With the project in place, we will have clean energy for domestic households in our cities,” he added. The proposed energy highway will provide natural gas for domestic use in Ranchi, Jamshedpur, Dhanbad, Bokaro, Dumka, Deoghar and Godda. Besides households, industrial establishments such as steel, power plants and other large and small-medium enterprises in the state are expected to get gas supply at cheaper rates. The project in Jharkhand will crucially hinge on the future of Sindri fertilizer plant. “One of the foremost reasons of the energy highway is to feed the fertilizer plants in the eastern part of the country. There used to be six of them, but now many have closed down,” a GAIL official said. “We want to get along with the project after the fate of the plant is clear,” he added. “Notably, the Union ministry of fertilizer has rolled out the tendering process for the now shut facility. We hope things will be clear soon,” Tripathi added.