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National Green Tribunal order ‘pushes back’ CNG timeline in Kolkata

The case, filed by environment activist Subhas Datta, had been going on since 2015

Jayanta Basu | Published 09.04.22, 07:58 AM
Representational image

Representational image

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The National Green Tribunal has disposed of a petition seeking an order to speed up bringing the Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) to Kolkata, saying the contentious land procurement issues needed “to be worked out” between the central and state governments.

Environmentalists said the decision was likely to further push back bringing the environment-friendly automobile fuel to the city. 

The case, filed by environment activist Subhas Datta, had been going on since 2015. It was last adjudicated on April 4 and the final order was uploaded on the tribunal’s website on Friday.

“…it is seen that there are contentious policy issues between the departments of the central government and the state government. However desirable the proposal for gas supply may be, unless pending issues are resolved by coordination between the authorities, desired result cannot be achieved,” says the order issued by a six-member special bench of the NGT, led by the chairperson of the tribunal, Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel.

The bench further added that “in the present matter, the main issue is laying of CNG pipeline which may result in pollution control. This has to be worked out between the authorities”.

“Keeping the matter pending to await such resolution for an indefinite period may not serve any purpose. We thus do not consider it necessary to continue the proceedings,” says the directive.

Petitioner Dutta said the NGT order was not in favour of the health of the city. “The case was disposed of after more than 20 hearings without any specific order,” he said. Kolkata was recently declared the 60th most polluted city in the world, out of 6,475 cities. 

The NGT order admits that “diesel and petrol vehicles emit polluting gases which need to be replaced by cleaner fuel” and accepts that “Greater Calcutta Gas Supply Corporation Ltd. was set up for keeping Bengal free from pollution but it is not fully functional”.

The order states at length how major portion of the proposed “right of usage” for the CNG pipeline path in the state had yet to be acquired and points out that GAIL “has not received any stretch of right of usage (RoU) against proposed pipeline alignment route in… Hooghly, Howrah, East Midnapore, Nadia and North 24-Parganas”.  

According to the NGT order, out of the 320km of total proposed CNG pipeline route in six districts, only Purba Bardhaman has handed a 31.5km stretch to GAIL so far.

The proposed Jagdishpur-Haldia pipeline to bring CNG to West Bengal is the only unfinished conduit among the five that GAIL India had decided to build in 2007 to supply the cheapest and cleanest of all automobile fuels. 

Incidentally, all other states involved in the 858km pipeline project — Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand — have completed the land acquisition process, GAIL had claimed before the NGT.

 

Last updated on 09.04.22, 07:58 AM
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