To deepen its bilateral ties with the Himalayan nation of Nepal and promote usage of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) there, the PM Narendra Modi government plans to help replicate its flagship Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) in the neighbouring country, and extend the natural gas pipeline being built under the Urja-Ganga scheme from Gorakhpur to Rupandehi. “We hope to see LPG in every household in Nepal,” petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan said on Monday in New Delhi. Officials from both the countries got together at the event to renew supply agreement between Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) and Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC).
A presentation was later made by IOC on half of the Indian government and oil marketing companies to the ministers and officials from the Nepalese government. The Indian companies will share their experience and expertise on the scheme to their Nepalese counterpart, a nation where 70-75% of LPG is used for domestic consumption.
The NDA government launched PMUY in May 2016 at Ballia in Uttar Pradesh with an aim to provide clean source of cooking fuel to 5 crore households in the next three years with the first-year target set at 1.5 crore connections to be provided to women belonging to below poverty line households.
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However, the first-year target was achieved within eight months of the launch of the scheme which aims 5 crore such families to be covered within three years. The government enhanced its budgetary support to the scheme to R2,500 crore for FY18 compared with R2,000 crore for FY17.
After the presentation, IOC chairman B Ashok said some observations have been made from both sides and due diligence is required before we take any further step.
Under the renewed agreement between IOC and NOC, which will run for the next five years, India has assured Nepal to support and continue hydrocarbon supply to the land-locked nation.
“The Indian government thinks supplying energy to Nepal is its responsibility and not a business deal,” said Pradhan.
Under Urja-Ganga, the Indian government is constructing a gas pipeline at a cost of Rs 5,000 crore which will provide connectivity to the eastern states — Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Jharkhand and Odisha — of the country. The pipeline will be also be used to revive four fertiliser plants of which one is in Gorakhpur.
The agreement also talks about extending the Raxaul-Amlekhgunj oil pipeline by another 70 km inside Nepal wherein the cost will be borne by the neighbouring country and expertise will be provided by IOC.
A joint venture will also be created which will assist Nepal is improving its storage facilities and bottling plants.