Pradhan targets IGL as BJP eyes Delhi elections

Vol 17, PW 25 (31 Jul 14) People & Policy

Dharmendra Pradhan has told Indraprastha Gas (IGL) to miraculously double its household gas connections to nearly a million by next year.

If IGL does that it will help the BJP in the Delhi assembly elections, expected by February 2015. Oil minister Pradhan chaired a late-evening meeting on July 24 to review IGL's progress with GAIL chairman BC Tripathi and seven BJP Delhi MPs in attendance.

“All the MPs criticised IGL's performance in their constituencies," says a source who witnessed the exchange. Pradhan even interrupted IGL managing director Narendra Kumar during a presentation on IGL’s future.

"Pradhan told him to improve management efficiency and demanded IGL sign up to 500,000 new homes a year," we hear. "He was unimpressed with IGL's current rate of adding only 70,000 piped gas customers each year.

" In response IGL managing director Kumar tells us: "I can't give you a number, but we promised the minister we'll sign up more than 70,000 customers this year." Kumar adds that IGL is supplying piped gas to 350,000 homes in Delhi and 100,000 in Noida and Greater Noida.

“Delhi has 20 lakh households as potential customers," he says. "But it takes time to connect them.

During rains from July to September the MCD (Municipal Corporation of Delhi) doesn't allow us to dig roads to lay pipelines."