THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The ambitious City Gas Project executed by AG&P Pratham is gathering pace in the capital city. Hundreds of households have reportedly signed up for PNG connections. Pipe-laying work for the project is progressing in Vettucaud, Shangumugham and Kochu Veli. On Thursday, the LPG prices went up again and domestic cylinders cost more than Rs 1,000 now.
Piped Natural Gas connections are expected to help families get a better hold of their expenses. According to office-bearers of the project, PNG costs around 25 per cent less than LPG.“The work of the PNG plant is fast progressing; it is expected to be commissioned in August. Since the pipe-laying is being done simultaneously, we can start giving out connections right away. We got the project last year, but Covid caused some delay. But almost 45 per cent of the plant’s work is complete,” said Ranjith Ramakrishnan, vice-president of AG&P Pratham.
The plan is to bring liquified gas from GAIL, Kalamassery, to the LPNG plant at Kochu Veli. “We are developing a hybrid system that prioritises safety. Polyethylene pipeline will be used to supply gas to households. We hope to cover around 150km radius of Thiruvananthapuram by 2023,” he added. The group plans to invest Rs 300 crore in the piped gas projects across Kollam, Alappuzha and Thiruvananthapuram. Of which around Rs 150 crore would be invested in Thiruvananthapuram. Overall, Rs 3,000 crore would be invested across Kerala over eight years.
According to officials, residents have been providing overwhelming support for the project. “We expect to cover 70 per cent of every corporation division. This is an eight-year-long project to be implemented in a phased manner. If required, more plants would be set up to provide more connections. There are no plans to collect any initial charges for household connections. They will pay for what they use,” said Ranjith Ramakrishnan. He said PNG is safer than LPG as it is less dense. Even if there is a leakage, the gas would dissipate fast.
“I have signed up for the PNG connection. Pipelines have been laid in my locality and meter installations have been completed for around 300 houses. Getting PNG at lower rates is a boon for people like us, given the price hike,” said Ajesh R, a resident at Kochuveli.
Vettucaud councillor Clinus Rozario L said residents are keen about the project. “Though there are 2,500 households in my ward, only half of them would get the connections due to roadworks progressing there. We will seek government help to cut the Vettucaud Beach Road which was laid recently. But as per current rules, it could take nearly three years,” said Clinus.
5km steel pipeline laid
Though the gas project has taken off, issues related to digging up roads and other technical snarls are slowing it down. Steel pipelines towards Enchakkal are being laid as part of the expansion plans. “We have completed around 2.5km so far. Permission from the Airport authority is pending for around 1 to 1.5km,” said Ranjith. A PNG network would be laid at Kadakampally next. The officials have identified the Venpalavattom-Peroorkada stretch for further expansion.
Plant at Veli
The PNG distribution plant will be located at the District Industries Centre in Kochu Veli. Apart from households, the plant will offer piped gas and Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) for commercial connections (hospitals, malls and restaurants), small and medium scale industries and transportation segments (as CNG).