Srinagar: Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas Murli Deora assured the three State Governments (Jammu and Kashmir, Uttrakhand and Himachal Pradesh) that the needs and requirements of these Hill States with respect to the energy sector shall be given due priority to ensure that the development of these States is not imparred.
This meeting is part of a series of meetings held by the Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas to be more responsive to the needs & the requirements of the State and to have a first hand knowledge of State specific issues.
The States of Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand are hilly regions where the logistics of reaching essential petroleum products continues to be a major challenge. Despite this, the public sector Oil Marketing Companies viz. IOC, BPC and HPC â€“ under the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas have set up an extensive infrastructure in these States for the marketing and distribution of petroleum products. There are 266 retail outlets (ROs) in Himachal Pradesh, 333 in J&K and 352 in Uttarakhand. Similarly, there are 120 LPG distributorships in Himachal Pradesh, 154 in J&K and 169 in Uttarakhand. Oil marketing Companies have plans to set up 25 more ROs and 3 more LPG distributorships in Himachal Pradesh, 49 ROs and 24 distributorships in J&K and 22 ROs and 3 distributorships in Uttarakhand.
A major challenge for the people living in hilly regions, is to preserve the delicate ecological balance and protect the environment and rich forests in the area. The Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas had introduced 5kg. LPG cylinders several years ago keeping the hilly regions in mind.
The LPG cover in the three Hill States of Jammu & Kashmir is 85%, Uttaranchal 90%, and in Himachal Pradesh is 97% of the total population, which is more than double the national average of 45%.
The Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas has recently taken the initiative of introducing ethanol blended petrol, which is not only environmentally friendly but is also beneficial to the farmers all across the country. This programme has already been launched in the State of Uttarakhand and is likely to be implemented in Himachal Pradesh from the first week of July. The matters relating to smooth implementation of this national programme were discussed with the State Governments.