HC asks Centre to execute its order on CNG by Dec 10

The Gujarat High Court (HC) on Tuesday directed the Central Government to resolve the issues hindering the implementation of its order to provide CNG to Gujarat at rates on par with Mumbai and Delhi by December 10, failing which the Secretary of Department of Petroleum & Natural Gas (DoPNG) will have to be personally present before the court. A division bench of HC, comprising Chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice J B Pardiwala, passed an order in this regard while pulling up the Central government for not implementing the order so far.

The bench was hearing a petition moved by Dhrangadhra Prakruti Mandal (DPM). In July last year, acting on a public interest litigation (PIL), HC had passed a judgment and directed the Central government to give natural gas to Ahmedabad city at the same rate at which Mumbai and Delhi were getting under the Administered Price Mechanism (APM).

The Central government had challenged the verdict in the Supreme Court. However, the apex court had upheld the HC verdict. Still, the HC order was not implemented. Following which, the Central government is facing contempt of court petition moved by DPM.

Earlier, the court had set a deadline for the Centre to comply with the order. However, till date the order has not been complied with, reportedly owing to a technical issue according to which GAIL has proposed to provide the CNG at Hazira whereas, the Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation (GSPC) has sought it at Dahej. The GSPC has stated that technically it was not possible for it to distribute the gas under APM from Hazira. GSPC officials had asked GAIL authorities to invoke the swapping guidelines so that the arrangements could be made for it to get gas from Dahej. However, this remained unanswered since November 30.

The court directed the Centre to resolve the issue by December 10 or else asked the Secretary of DoPNG to remain personally present before the court on that day.

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