The possibility of CNG (compressed natural gas), the green transport fuel, reaching Kolkata through pipeline has received a jolt.
The Bengal government has told the National Green Tribunal that there has been “stiff resistance” against land acquisition for the pipeline in North 24-Parganas.
“There was stiff resistance in the respective villages for the entire alignment (of North 24-Parganas) for a long time as the alignment was through congested areas,” reads the state’s submission to the NGT on Tuesday. It adds “GAIL (Gas Authority of India Limited) was requested by the district authority for a fresh proposal of viable and feasible alignment”.
The issue of bringing CNG to Kolkata has been pending since 2007-08 despite several judicial orders and three state governments completing their terms; alleged Subhas Datta, who filed the petition at the NGT in 2016.
“I can assure that I will personally intervene to solve the problem as we have to bring the CNG pipeline in the city,” Firhad Hakim, the outgoing mayor, told The Telegraph on Thursday.
Availability of CNG is expected to play a key role in reducing air pollution and triggering complete transition of polluting diesel and petrol vehicles to electrical and CNG mode from 2030; as committed by Hakim during a meeting on the sidelines of COP26 in Glasgow where he joined online.
Hakim claimed that CNG would reach Kolkata by another 18 months.
All other states involved in the 858km project — Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand — have already completed acquiring the required land. Only after the acquisition process is complete in Bengal, work can start on laying of the 100km pipeline for Kolkata, GAIL earlier said in its submission to the NGT.
On Wednesday the government submitted, in response to a petition moved by environmentalist Subhas Datta, in the NGT that the laying of CNG pipeline would likely be completed by August 2022 in all districts of West Bengal, barring North 24 Parganas, through which the pipeline is set to pass.
“Unless government takes immediate actions about land issues in North 24 parganas; CNG pipeline in the city will remain a pipedream” said activist Datta.