Oil regulator PNGRB on Friday invited bids for giving out city gas retailing licence in 65 geographical areas (GAs) including Jammu, Nagpur, Pathankot and Madurai.
Bids for the 65 GAs being offered in the 11th city gas licensing round are due on December 15, Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) said in a statement.
Presently, there are 228 geographical areas authorised by PNGRB in 27 states and UTs covering approximately 53 per cent of the country's geographical area and 70 per cent of its population.
In the last city gas distribution (CGD) bidding round - the 10th CGD bidding round, 50 GAs were authorised for the development of CGD network.
In the present round, 203 districts clubbed into 65 GAs are being offered.
"The PNGRB invites electronic bids from interested parties for the development of city gas distribution network in the 65 GAs," the statement said.
During 2018 and 2019, PNGRB gave out licences to retail CNG to automobiles and piped cooking gas to household kitchens in 136 GAs. This extended coverage of the city gas network to 406 districts and around 70 per cent of the country's population.
The push for city gas expansion is part of the government's plan for raising the share of natural gas in the country's energy basket to 15 per cent by 2030 from the current 6.3 per cent.
The 65 GAs to be bid out in the 11th CGD bidding round include Jammu, Udhampur, Samba and Kathua districts in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
Nagpur in Maharashtra, Madurai in Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan's Bikaner and Churu districts are among the areas being offered for bidding.
Nizamabad in Telangana, the Nilgiris in Tamil Nadu, East Medinipur in West Bengal and Pauri Garhwal in Uttarakhand are also on the list.
Kurnool, Guntur and Prakasam districts in Andhra Pradesh, Assam's Kokrajhar and Dhubri districts, Darbhanga and Madhubani in Bihar and Chhattisgarh's Rajnandgaon and Kanker districts will be offered.
In Himachal Pradesh, Mandi, Kullu, Kinnaur and Lahaul & Spiti districts have been clubbed into one GA for the bidding and Kangra and Chamba into another.
Karnataka's Chikkaballapur, Kerala's Idukki and Kottayam, Madhya Pradesh's Hoshangabad, Sagar and Vidisha districts, Jalgaon and Amravati in Maharashtra, Koraput in Odisha, Pathankot and Tarn Taran in Punjab and Tiruvannamalai in Tamil Nadu are other areas being offered for bidding.
While 86 GAs, made up of 174 districts, were offered for bidding in the 9th round that concluded in August 2018, 50 GAs, comprising 124 districts, were offered in the 10th round in 2019.
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