Gujarat tells PNGRB to set up regional offices

Vol 14, PW 4 (12 Aug 10) People & Policy

Gujarat energy secretary and former GSPC managing director DJ Pandian has never shied away from speaking his mind.

On August 6, Pandian launched a high-voltage pitch during a round-table conference in Gandhinagar, which left gas and downstream regulator Labanyendu Mansingh speechless. During the seminar at the Pandit Deen Dayal Petroleum University, Pandian offered a handful of quick-fire suggestions to revolutionise the nascent gas distribution business in India, as Mansingh and senior colleagues BS Negi, LK Singhvi and Rajeshwar Rao listened with rapt attention.

His first salvo was about gas pricing and allocation. “CGD should be the number one priority for the government of India followed by fertilisers and power,” said Pandian.

“CGD affects the lives of millions in India. This is going to increase with each passing day.

” Pandian then suggested the Board should broaden its horizons. “Why is the PNGRB limiting itself to regulating pipeline tariffs only” he questioned.

“This is marginal. The PNGRB should have the powers to allocate gas and to price it.

And why only regulate gas You should cover petrol and diesel also.” To resounding applause, Pandian said the PNGRB should be a full-fledged board, not merely a ‘gas board’.

Pandian then turned to the lack of experienced staff at the PNGRB, saying they had no idea about ground level realities. “They have all worked in Delhi either in Indian Oil or Bharat Petroleum or some other PSU before joining the PNGRB,” he said.

“Are they really aware about the dynamics in Gujarat; or the culture in Maharashtra; are they aware what the demand and supply situation is in Andhra” Pandian advised the PNGRB to decentralise, and set up local PNGRB-controlled offices in each state. “This will go a long way in helping the gas sector,” said Pandian.

“These local offices will be well-tuned to regional realities.”