Modi orders gas retailers to double targets

Vol 18, PW 1 (28 Aug 14) Midstream & Downstream

It must be fun being Narendra Modi.

He cracks his whip and everybody dances to his tune. Yet gas retailers across India are not feeling the fun after Prime Minister Modi ordered them to more than double the number of piped gas connections to households over the next seven months.

All India’s gas retailers were summoned at short notice to a meeting in Delhi on August 19 to be chaired by oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan. But Pradhan was at an industry event so the meeting was chaired by ministry joint secretary PK Singh instead.

A source present says Singh told gathered representatives the PM wants at least a million new household connections by March 31, 2015. Singh was unimpressed when CGD operators said they planned 425,000 new connections - less than half.

“Singh was business-like,” we hear. “He said this isn’t enough.

” Singh directed gas retailers to revise their targets by September 9 with a follow up meeting in Delhi set for mid-September. “This is stretching us to our limit,” says an industry source.

Singh is scheduled to visit Gujarat on a two-day visit to study the much-hyped ‘Gujarat Model’ and meet India’s largest gas retailers GSPC Gas, which sells 4.3m cm/d, and Gujarat Gas, which sells 2.8m cm/d. “Singh wants to study the success stories of these companies and learn how they can be copied,” we hear.

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