New rules needed for Charottar Gas cooperative CGD

Vol 12, PW 9 (18 Sep 08) Midstream & Downstream

Petroleum and gas regulator Labanyendu Mansingh may need to issue separate regulations for Charottar Gas – India’s only city gas retailer run as a cooperative.

“It is mandatory for all entities coming to the Board to be registered under India’s Companies Act, 1956,â€‌ Mansingh told the Ahmedabad â€کround table’ seminar on CGD policy on September 9. “Theoretically a cooperative is not eligible; let us see what can be done about Charottar Gas; for the time being all I can say is that we will consider their case.

â€‌ In July Charottar Gas filed an EoI (Expression of Interest) with the regulator for the Anand area of Gujarat, where it has operated for years. Contacted by this report, Charottar doubts it can amend its charter to meet the registered company rule as outlined in the Regulations for Authorising Entities for the Development of Natural Gas Pipelines.

“We are registered under the Gujarat State Cooperative Societies Act, 1961,â€‌ AJ Parmar, managing director of Charottar Gas, tells PETROWATCH. “We can’t just change our existence to the Companies Act.

It is not possible.â€‌ Parmar adds that the regulator should amend its rules to account for cooperatives, which are prominent in many states, particularly Gujarat, which is home to Amul, the world’s largest dairy cooperative.

“I have been here since 1999 but the board has just come up in 2007,â€‌ adds Parmar. “It is the board which has to take cognisance of my presence.

I am here much before them.â€‌ Parmar said cooperative societies like Charottar Gas are run along business lines and have tight management and oversight structures in place.

“There are so many cooperatives in Anand alone,â€‌ says Parmar, “including the world famous Amul in the milk processing industry, which is a major business.â€‌ Parmar remains optimistic that all would be resolved.

“Mansingh knows our case very well,â€‌ says Parmar. “He has always given us a sympathetic hearing and he knows Gujarat is unique in India because even villages here receive gas supplies.