Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lay the foundation stone here on Thursday for city gas distribution (CGD) projects across 129 districts which won under the ninth CGD bidding round held recently, the Petroleum Ministry said.
At each of the geographical areas (GA) across 19 states in India, the authorised entities would also hold their event locally, a Ministry release said.
It said the projects, recently awarded by the Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB), would cover 65 GAs to bring gas to around half of the country's population in 26 states and union territories (UTs).
"During the event, the Prime Minister would also launch the tenth CGD bidding round in 50 GAs spread over 124 districts in 14 states," the statement said.
As part of a larger plan to shift towards an environment friendlier gas-based economy, the development of CGD networks will increase the availability of clean cooking fuel or piped natural gas (PNG) and transportation fuel compressed natural gas (CNG) for consumers, it said.
The project has covered 96 cities and districts covering 46.5 lakh households and 32 lakh CNG vehicles so far.
PNGRB launched the ninth CGD bidding round in April for 86 GAs covering 174 districts in 22 states and UTs. The government has authorised bidders to develop projects in 84 of these GAs.
"Based on the commitment made by various entities in this bidding round, around 2 crore domestic PNG connections and 4,600 CNG stations are expected to be installed in the next eight years. This has expanded the potential coverage of CGDs to about 50 per cent of the country's population spread over 35 per cent of India's area," the statement said.
Moreover, PNGRB has initiated the process of tenth CGD bidding round for another 50 GAs covering 124 districts in 14 states to increase the potential coverage to about 53 per cent of the country's area covering 70 per cent of the population, it said.
The e-bidding process was initiated on November 8, a pre-bid conference is scheduled on December 6 and bids can be submitted by February 5, 2019. Thereafter, the technical bids would be opened during February 7-9 and the Letters of Intent are expected to be issued by end-February, it added.
According to the government, while CNG is 60 per cent cheaper as compared to petrol and costs 45 per cent less than diesel, PNG is 40 per cent cheaper than the market price of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) used for cooking. The government provides each consuming household 12 LPG cylinders per year at subsidised rates.