The LPG cylinder penetration in the North East region is likely to touch 80 per cent by the end of 2018-19, much ahead of its initial plan to reach this target by 2030.
A report published in the The Economic Times stated that the rigorous push to achieve the target ahead of its time was received during implementation of the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) in the region from last year, State-level coordinator for Assam (Petroleum Products) Uttiya Bhattacharyya said.
The report quoted Bhattacharyya as saying, “We hope to touch the figure of 80 per cent in the LPG penetration in North East by the end of 2018-19 fiscal. Initially, we had planned to reach this figure in North East by 2030.” Bhattacharyya, who is also the Indian Oil Corporation Chief General Manager (Indian Oil-AOD), informed that the penetration level in the region has gone up to over 76 per cent at present from around 44 per cent in 2015-16.
“So, we are already much ahead of our planned target. However, we are still much below than the national average, which stands at 88.5 per cent compared to 62.2 per cent in 2015-16,” he added. Bhattacharyya said earlier the oil marketing companies comprising Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL), Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL), together used to release around six lakh LPG connections annually, transforming an average of about 1,700 per day.
“Now, this number has shot up to 5,830 cylinders every day. It is an unthinkable jump that the industry has achieved. It was possible due to the effort in implementing the ‘Gram Swaraj Abhiyan’ under the PMUY,” he added. Under the ‘Gram Swaraj Abhiyan’, which was launched on April 14 this year in the region, LPG connections are being distributed in 6,942 villages.
The public sector undertaking IOC currently has 10 LPG bottling plants across the North East region and these are functioning at over 100 per cent utilisation. The company is investing over Rs 286 crore to enhance its LPG bottling capacity, including setting up of two greenfield plants at Agartala in Tripura and Barapani in Meghalaya by 2020.
IOC is pumping Rs 143.46 crore to set up the plant at Agartala by June 2019 that will have an installed bottling capacity of 60,000 metric tonne per annum (MTPA). The Barapani unit, which is at an initial stage now, will have a capacity of 30,000 MTPA and will cost Rs 74 crore.
Apart from the two units, the company is adding capacities to its existing bottling facilities at Silchar, Bongaigaon and North Guwahati. The expanded Silchar unit has been commissioned just recently after increasing the capacity to 1, 20,000 MTPA from 60,000 MTPA at a cost of Rs 23.45 crore.
In North Guwahati, the company is spending Rs 45.13 crore for raising the output to 1, 80,000 MTPA from 1, 20,000 MTPA, besides having two mounted storage vessels of 600 MT each. The expansion work at the Bongaigaon unit has been completed and the capacity is now doubled to 60,000 MTPA.