The Indian government has initiated the bidding process for a critical gas pipeline connecting Jammu and Srinagar in the landlocked Kashmir Valley in a significant step towards bolstering energy security in the Himalayan region.
The 325-kilometer pipeline, estimated to cost billions of rupees, aims to revolutionize energy access and supply for millions of residents by introducing clean-burning natural gas to the picturesque valley.
Aligning with India's national push for cleaner energy, the project also seeks to reduce carbon emissions and promote environmentally sustainable solutions.
"This ambitious project will not only enhance energy security for the people of Kashmir but also foster economic activities in the region," said a statement from the Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB), the body overseeing the bidding process.
The pipeline will have an initial capacity of at least 2 million standard cubic meters per day (MMSCMD), with provisions for future expansion. It will connect to a 175-kilometer pipeline currently under construction by the Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL) from Gurdaspur in Punjab to Jammu.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman first announced the Jammu-Srinagar pipeline project in the Union Budget 2022-23, highlighting its strategic importance for the development of the Kashmir Valley.
The PNGRB is inviting bids for the authorization to lay, build, operate, and expand the pipeline, and the deadline for submissions is May 13, 2024.
Once operational, the pipeline is expected to provide a cleaner, more efficient, and reliable energy source for industries, businesses, and households across the valley, unlocking its economic potential and improving the lives of its residents.