Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday laid the foundation stone to mark the beginning of work for CNG supply to automobiles and piped cooking gas to kitchens, in 129 districts of 18 states, covering over a quarter of India's population.
Keen to cut emissions through a greater share of environment friendly natural gas as auto and cooking fuel, PM Modi also launched the 10th round of bidding for award of city gas licenses in 124 new districts, which have been clubbed into 50 Geographical Areas (GAs).
"This is an important step in developing infrastructure," he said, adding once 10th round is completed, natural gas as fuel will cover 400 districts and 70 per cent population," he said.
PM Modi said households with piped cooking gas connections would reach 2 crore after network in cities awarded up to 10th round is completed. Currently there are over 32 lakh piped consumers.
Downstream regulator Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) had just a few weeks back awarded licenses for 78 out of the 86 GAs put on offer in the 9th round of bidding.
Of the GAs awarded in the 9th round, PM Modi laid foundation stones for work in 65 GAs, made up of 129 districts, while leaving out the ones in election-bound states like Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Telangana due to the model code of conduct.
The license winners of 61 GAS out of these 65 GAs organised functions in their respective areas, which were connected to Vigyan Bhawan in the national capital through video conferencing, where the prime minister formally launched the city gas works.
With an annual consumption of 142 million standard cubic meters per day, the share of natural gas in India's energy mix is just 6.2 per cent. This compares to a world average of 24 per cent. Gas accounts for 25 per cent share in Gujarat's energy mix.