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Monday, January 18, 2010

Silchar domestic piped gas supply project shelved?

Is the domestic piped gas supply project shelved?

Special Correspondent

SILCHAR, Jan 18: Will the much hyped domestic piped gas supply project for Silchar remain “a piped dream”? This question is now making rounds among the home-makers who were assured of more comfort in their kitchens and cooking. When everything seemed taking shape a few years ago, it was suddenly pushed on the back-burner. No one from Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd. or Assam Gas Company Ltd involved in the project is ready to take the question for answer or explanation.

A detailed project report (DPR), a copy of which is with The Sentinel for supply of piped natural gas to Silchar and four tea gardens around it. The grid or project encompasses a total area of about 100 km. The source of gas is Sonabarighat, 8 km away from here. The producer of natural gas is ONGCL from which the AGCL will carry gas to the tea gardens and the town. The network of the pipeline will carry 15,000 square cm gas per day and 12,000 domestic consumers are to be covered under the scheme. The company has obtained commitment of gas from ONGCL.

The network will have 41 km of pipeline as well as 100 km of domestic pipelines of assorted diameter. The cost of the project is estimated at Rs 520 lakh. The loan component from financial institution has been estimated at around Rs 269 lakh. The domestic consumers will have to pay Rs 1,500 per connection as security deposit which is Rs 5,000 for commercial consumers. Tea gardens will have to pay Rs 1 lakh as security deposit.

The town according to the market survey and demand has 14,000 households and around 200 small and medium business establishment who responded to opt for piped natural gas because of the increasing cost of LPG and other conventional fuel. The domestic consumer will be charged Rs 150 per month for per connection for the first three years which will be enhanced by Rs 20 after every three years. The tea gardens and commercial consumers will be charged on the basis of metered consumption figures.

While designing the system, the required quantity of gas at source at Banskandi well no. 1 has been assumed and assessed at the required pressure rate and provision for 50 per cent additional capacity has been made for future growth of market. The project once completed will generate additional revenue for the company and the pay back period has been calculated at 5 years six months from the date of commissioning.

Besides generating revenue for the company, the government of Assam will earn Rs 188 lakh as royalty and Rs 141 lakh as sales tax in a period of 15 years. Though the man power requirement for the project will be eight, there will be some indirect employment prospect. The project as a whole will serve the society better by giving safe and cheap fuel and pollution free environment since natural gas will replace LPG, kerosene, coal and firewood, presently being used for domestic and commercial purposes. This will also result in reduction of deforestation and eco-friendly environ.

The general public of this town and around will be greatly benefited by use of this precious natural resource which is produced in and around the town itself and is being uselessly flared for so many years. The project will contribute to socio-economic development of people. But the very future of this project, the brain child and hard work of late Bimolangshu Roy MLA, looks uncertain. THE SENTINEL

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