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AGCL begins survey for piped domestic gas supply
Staff Reporter

Chandra Mohan Patowary addressing the media. – UB Photos
 GUWAHATI, Jan 10 - The Assam Gas Company Ltd (AGCL) has started a survey for providing piped domestic gas to households in Guwahati and Silchar, Minister for Commerce & Industry Chandra Mohan Patowary said here today.

Addressing a press conference, Patowary said the Centre has invested Rs 42,782.28 crore in Assam’s oil & petroleum and natural gas sector. Once the Barauni Guwahati Pipeline Ltd Gas Grid Project is completed, the AGCL will start work on the pipelines to provide LPG house-to-house in Guwahati, he said.

The BGPL Gas Grid Project is the feeder to the Indradhanush Gas Grid Ltd (IGGL) from Barauni, and is being implemented by GAIL India Ltd. The total length of the pipeline is 729 km, of which about 263 km shall lie in Assam.

The Rs 3,308-crore worth project is targeted for completion by November 2021. The pipeline route is from Barauni to Chandrapur in Guwahati via Siliguri and Bongaigaon. He also mentioned the North East Gas Grid project of IGGL, which got approval of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs.

Once completed, it will facilitate piped cooking gas supply to households in other places of Assam as well, Patowary said adding that Silchar is also on the radar of the AGCL in this regard once the IGGL project is made operational.

The minister said most of the industries and tea gardens in Assam are gas-based, and the new pipeline projects will go a long way in addressing the current supply constraints.

The Centre has sanctioned Rs 3,600 crore for carrying out survey and exploration of 100 new sites in Assam with the potential for finding crude oil and gas deposits, Patowary said. The ASTC has also been directed to shift focus to CNG.

A total investment amounting to Rs 23,975 crore has been made at the NRL by the Centre, including Rs 22,594 crore for expansion of the refinery, Rs 1,259 crore for a bio-refinery at Numaligarh and Rs 122 crore for mounded LPG storage. He added that capacity of the Bongaigaon refinery will also be doubled to six million tonne and the State government is in talks with the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas for this purpose.

A skill university is coming up at Mangaldai and Rs 950 crore has been sanctioned for it. Work will start by the middle of this year, Patowary said, adding that all ITIs located in the State will come under the skill university.

India’s first international multi-model logistic hub is coming up at Jogighopa. The government has sanctioned Rs 700 crore for the project and work has begun, he said.

Patowary said that Bangladesh has given India access to the ports at Chittagong and Mongla and a team from the State Transport department will soon visit the neighbouring country to study and determine Assam’s requirements.

He said dredging work in the river Barak has been completed and work will now be taken up at the Brahmaputra.

Patowary added that plans are afoot to start bus services between Guwahati and Dhaka and between Silchar and Sylhet.

He said Assam is seeking internet access via the IT gate at Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh for faster connectivity.

Concerning air connectivity, Patowary said the Rs 1,243-crore project for developing a new terminal at the LGBI airport in Guwahati is on.

“Now, on average, 125 flights operate daily from Guwahati and 55 lakh passengers used the airport last year. The number of flights from Dibrugarh has increased to seven and the Jorhat airport is to be expanded. Work is almost complete at the Rupsi airport and flights will begin operating from there later this year. Flights have started from Lakhimpur airport and we are now thinking of doing the same at Tezpur also. Plans are also afoot to open a green-field airport at Cachar and three locations have been identified. Officials from the Ministry of Civil Aviation will soon visit to carry out inspection. We estimate an expenditure of Rs 2,000 crore for a green-field airport at Cachar,” Patowary said adding tenders have been issued for operating flights from Guwahati to six destinations in SE Asia.

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