Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Allot CNG to Ahmedabad at Delhi price: HC to Centre

To “enforce” the state’s “right to equality”, the Gujarat High Court on Wednesday ordered the Centre to allot natural gas, including CNG, for domestic and vehicular usage to Ahmedabad at the same rate at which it is supplied to Delhi and Mumbai.
Also, to bring down the pollution level, the HC directed the state government to pass necessary orders compelling owners of all the vehicles registered in Gujarat to use natural gas within a year.
The court further directed the state to take stringent steps within a month to check vehicular emissions match the international standards till the order of compulsory use of natural gas is complied with.
A division bench of Chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice J B Pardiwala passed the order while acting on a set of public interest litigations (PILs) moved by Dhrangadhra Prakruti Mandal (DPL) and Gujarat Rajya Autorickshaw Federation.
In its petition, DPL argued that majority share of Gujarat’s natural gas is used for industrial purpose and very little is left for domestic and vehicular usage. It further said that Delhi and Mumbai get Low Priced Domestic Gas that caters to around 90 per cent of their domestic and vehicular usage.
However, due to non-allocation of the same to Gujarat, inadequate gas supply to City Gas Distribution (CGD) consequently leads to increase of financial burden on the people of the state as it is forced to use almost 100 per cent imported RLNG for CNG and domestic purpose. And this, it added, leads to price rise of around 30-40 per cent.
It also contended that such higher rates lead people to use fuel like petrol and diesel, which are comparatively causing more air pollution. According to the petitioner, the allocation, diversification and price fixation of the natural gas is under the absolute control and powers of the central government.
Allowing the petition, the court directed the Centre not to discriminate between CGDs promoted by central PSUs and others, and Gujarat-based CGDs.
Regarding its order on the compulsory use of natural gas, the court gave the state government liberty to impose additional tax on the sale of natural gas to private vehicle owners to make the gas cheaper for the public vehicle owners.

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