West Bengal ropes in 150-yr-old firm to supply ‘clean and green’ cooking gas in 2-3 yrs

GCGSC has been chosen to supply ‘clean and green’ gas, said an officials

By: Express News Service | Kolkata | Published:July 21, 2016 5:42 am

Over 150 years after the Greater Calcutta Gas Supply Corporation (GCGSC) paved the path for city planning by providing coal gas to the city, the GCCSC is planning to provide “clean and green” gas to households, hotels and even automobiles.

Households in the state will get a piped cooking gas connection in the next 2-3 years, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced on Tuesday, adding that orders had been given for building the necessary infrastructure. The service is likely to roll out in the next three years.

Initially, the gas pipe connection will be made available in Howrah, Kolkata, Hooghly, North and South-24 Parganas districts, and part of Haldia (East Medinipur). State Industry Minister Amit Mitra said lots of people face problems with LPG cylinders, adding that piped connections would also be made available in the transport sector.

Sources in the government maintained that the Gas Authority of India (GAIL) had approached the state to take part in the process. But the government decided to go ahead with competitive bidding, and apart from GAIL, H-energy and LNG are also participating.Officials added that others are also likely to take part.

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GCGSC has been chosen to supply ‘clean and green’ gas, and officials added that after the state becomes self-sufficient in supplying clean gas, the plan is to become a potential gas suppliers for Bangladesh and UP.

In 1857, Kolkata started enjoying coal gas,distributed by the then Oriental Gas Company Ltd. (OGCL), which was set up under the Oriental Gas Company Act of 1857 (Act V of 1857), incorporated in England.

The actual coal gas production was done in plants at Rajabazar and Howrah. After independence, the British owner sold the company to an Indian company M/S Jalan & Co, which ran for several years from Rajabazar factory. Due to ageing of the machinery, the business faced serious problems, leading to it being closed down in the late 1950s.

The Oriental Gas Company was nationalised in 1960, and its name was changed to Oriental Gas Company’s Undertaking (OGCU). This was under the administrative control of the state Commerce & Industries Department.

At that time, it had received its supply of coal gas from Durgapur, but after this became unreliable in the 1970s, the state, in an effort to make it commercially viable, converted the Oriental Gas Company’s Undertaking (OGCU) to Greater Calcutta Gas Supply Corporation (GCGSC), with 100 per cent equity participation.

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