Amritsar,Punjab: The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) is mulling to replace LPG with natural pipeline gas for the langar (community kitchen) at the Golden Temple. The Sikh body has written to GAIL India to explore the possibility for the same and inform the SGPC about the economic viability of the project, safety aspect and effect on environment if it goes ahead with the plan.
GAIL India is already supplying natural pipeline gas to Jalandhar and Ludhiana, besides to National Fertilizers Limited (NFL) in Nangal and NFL in Bathinda.
“The company is planning to extend the pipeline from Jalandhar to Amritsar. For this, proposals have been sent to prospective clients, which included industrial units in and on the way to Amritsar. GAIL India is also planning to supply pipe gas to Radha Soami Dera Beas. Once the economic viability of the project is established, the company is keen to extend its pipeline from Jalandhar to Amritsar,” said an official.
Nearly one lakh devotees partake langar daily at the Golden Temple and the cap on subsidised LPG cylinders announced by the Centre has hit the budget of SGPC hard with the Sikh body now shelling out more than double the price for each cylinder. The SGPC has also written to the petroleum minister to exempt the gurdwaras under SGPC from the capping policy, underlining the fact that SGPC provided langar free of cost.
In the letter to GAIL India, SGPC has underlined that 6,000 to 8,000 LPG cylinders are used for langar at the Golden Temple annually. A senior official of GAIL India had also paid a visit to the site in connection with the proposal, said sources.
“Natural gas will be cheaper than what SGPC is right now paying for LPG. Another major benefit will be round-the-clock availability of gas.
“It will also help a great degree in checking pollution. Billing cycle for pipe gas is of 15 days and the user is supposed to pay within three days after the fortnightly bill. It is like giving gas on credit for 15 days, while in case of LPG, one has to pay the full amount in advance,” said an official.
A senior official of GAIL India said the company “seeks to supply gas to SGPC”. “On the directions of Punjab and Haryana High Court, based on eco concerns, we are already supplying natural gas to Ludhiana and Jalandhar. If the state government so desires and there are proposals of setting up gas stations for the State Road Transport Corporation in Amritsar and industries and other prospective buyers also show interest to use the gas, we are keen to extend the pipeline to Amritsar,” the official added.
When contacted, SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar said: “We are keen to have natural gas for langar at Darbar Sahib.” He, however, lamented that the petroleum ministry is yet to respond to SGPC’s request to exempt gurdwaras from the LPG rationing system.
Source:The Indian Express