Pressure builds to announce 3rd CGD round result

Vol 15, PW 18 (22 Mar 12) People & Policy

Better known as a petrochemicals manufacturer, CGD newcomer Jay Madhok Energy is calling on the gas regulator to swiftly announce the results of India’s third retail gas licensing round.

Jay Madhok submitted ‘aggressive’ bids to the PNGRB over a year ago to set up retail gas networks in the Punjab cities of Ludhiana and Jalandhar, and in the Kutch (East) area of Gujarat. Fed up waiting for an answer, company promoter Satinder Singh Madhok wrote to PNGRB secretary Ratan P.

Watal on February 23 asking him to hurry up! PNGRB officials have kept the third city gas licensing round on hold since June 2011 because over eager bidders submitted ‘unrealistic’ feasibility reports quoting implausible ‘network tariffs’. Madhok believes his company shouldn’t be penalised.

“We submitted the most competitive bids,” he writes. “Our bids for Jalandhar and Kutch ranked first.

There can be only one prospective winner in each area yet other (rival) bidders are crying foul!” Madhok accuses disgruntled rivals of spreading false information about the PNGRB’s bid evaluation criteria in an attempt to get the third licensing round cancelled. He admits his bids might have been too ‘aggressive’ (read: unrealistic) but insists he should not suffer as others submitted “equally aggressive” bids.

Nearly 51 bids were received by the PNGRB on February 18 last year for seven areas offered in the third round: Asansol-Durgapur in West Bengal; Bhavnagar, Kutch (East), Kutch (West), and Jamnagar in Gujarat; Jalandhar and Ludhiana in Punjab. Most fiercely contested was Ludhiana, with 16 bidders.

In November last year S. Krishnan, PNGRB chairman, cancelled the fourth licensing round, igniting rumours he might do the same with the third round.

That decision, however, rests with KK Jha, who joined as PNGRB member infrastructure on February 1 this year.