Tripura seeks gas at APM for small-quantity consumers

Agartala, May 27 (IANS) The Tripura government has urged the centre to continue supply of natural gas to small industries and domestic units in the northeastern state at the administered price mechanism (APM) rate, and not market price.

The Tripura and Assam governments, along with Gas Authority of India Limited, had jointly floated a company in 1980, Tripura Natural Gas Company (TNGC), to supply piped natural gas (PNG) for domestic purposes, CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) for vehicles and gas as fuel to many other small industries.

“The ONGC (Oil and Natural Gas Corporation) has been asking TNGC to pay gas prices at market rates instead of APM rate, violating the central government’s previous order,” Tripura Industries and Commerce Minister Jitendra Chowdhury told reporters Monday.

He said: “As per the natural gas pricing order dated May 31, 2010, issued by the union ministry of petroleum and natural gas, small scale consumers having allocation up to 0.05 mscm are entitled to get gas at APM rate.”

Chowdhury in a letter to union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas M. Veerappa Moily sought his personal intervention to solve the problem.

“I apprehend, some of the existing gas-based industries might also close down if the APM rate does not continue,” the letter added.

According to the minister, as on March 31, TNGC has been supplying PNG to 11,431 households in the Agartala city for cooking purposes, CNG to 4,682 vehicles, natural gas (as fuel) to 214 commercial units and 42 industrial units.

The current APM price of natural gas is Rs.6818 per mscm. For consumers in the northeast India, 40 percent of the price is being provided as subsidy by government.

ONGC owns significant natural gas reserves in Tripura. Since 1972, the ONGC has drilled 164 wells in Tripura, of which 76 wells are yielding gas in 11 gas fields across the northeastern state.

However, these gas reserves are not yet sufficiently commercially exploited due to the low industrial demand in the northeastern region.

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