The Gujarat High Court on Wednesday directed the Central government to allocate natural gas to Ahmedabad city under APM (administered price mechanism) price which is at present applicable to cities like Delhi and Mumbai.
The division bench of Chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice J B Pardiwala also directed the state government to make use of natural gas compulsory for all vehicle in Gujarat. The state government has been asked to issue notification in this regard within two months and ensure implementation of the court order in a year's time. The court observed that difference in pricing of natural gas in Ahmedabad and metro cities like Delhi and Mumbai where gas is priced under APM was 'discriminatory in nature' and in violation of Article 14 of the Constitution of India.
The order was passed on a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking additional quota of natural gas from the Centre for Gujarat for domestic and vehicular usage at the administrative price mechanism (APM) rate. The petitioner - Dhrangadhra Prakrutik Mandal-has alleged discrimination against Gujarat in allocation of natural gas.
The PIL, which was filed in May 2011 had sought HC direction to the Centre to prioritize and diversify the unutilised natural gas from non-priority sector to the City Gas Distribution (CGD) for their domestic and vehicular usage, as directed by the Supreme Court in one of the cases to reduce the pollution level and cost of living. It had also sought direction to the state government to take appropriate steps to reduce air pollution by converting the private and public vehicles from petrol and diesel to natural gas.
The court order is likely to give much-needed relief to thousands of natural gas users in the city. APM is applicable to gas produced from fields given to ONGC and OIL (Oil India Ltd) on nomination basis. The gas is allocated only to a select category of consumers belonging primarily to the power, fertilizers and city gas distribution business.