The Maharashtra Natural Gas Limited (MNGL) has shifted focus to areas in the city civic limits from Pimpri Chinchwad to increase its piped natural gas coverage. Even as MNGL had embarked on the piped natural gas project in Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) areas, the state-owned company added over 35,000 new piped natural gas connections in Pune as against 16,000 in the twin towns in the last financial year.
MNGL has blamed the “heavy charges” levied by PCMC for digging and restoring roads for the change in its strategy. “MNGL had started piped natural gas in the PCMC areas and our focus was strong. But as the civic body is charging heavily for road digging, we were forced to shift our focus to the PMC limits,” MNGL director (commercial) Santosh Sontakke said. “PCMC charges anything between Rs 16,000 and Rs 19,500 per metre for road digging and restoration. The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) charges from Rs 2,750 to Rs 3,000 for the same work,” he said.
In areas under the Central Public Works Department and the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation, MNGL has to pay Re 1 per metre and Rs 1,000 per metre, respectively. “The heavy charges levied by PCMC are leading to losses for us. We are recovering only Rs 500 from each customer. It becomes difficult to bear such heavy expenses,” Sontakke said. The official admitted that people in PCMC were not getting the chance to use the piped natural gas. Sontakke said, “Piped natural gas is a more economical option than liquid petroleum gas. The cost of a 14.2kg LPG cylinder is between Rs 650 and Rs 700. One has to pay a maximum of Rs 450 for the same quantity of piped natural gas. An individual can easily save around Rs 200 to Rs 250 by opting for LPG.”
MNGL is now targeting 1, 00,000 new piped natural gas connections in Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad. “The target is high but can be met, subject to permission from both the municipal bodies as well as reduction in digging and restoration charges, especially by PCMC,” he said.