Oil regulator PNGRB has launched a two-month long nationwide drive to increase adoption of piped natural gas as a cooking fuel in household kitchens in an attempt to cut dependence on imported fossil-fuels.

"The Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) along with city gas distribution entities will run a campaign from January 26 to March 31, aimed to promote the adoption of piped natural gas (PNG) among households and to expand PNG consumer base across a broader segment of the population," it said in a statement.

While PNG has gained currency in the last few years after PNGRB expanded city gas networks to most parts of the country, sizable households continue to use either LPG or conventional fuels like firewood and cow dung for cooking.

While India is about 50 per cent dependent on imports to meet cooking gas LPG needs, use of conventional fuels is considered a health hazard.

PNG offers a viable alternative. It is convenient as it does not require ordering for refills everytime a LPG bottle is exhausted, and is also cheaper.

Stating that natural gas is clean and convenient fossil fuel, PNGRB said the campaign will be focussed on those areas where gas pipeline network has been laid or will be laid in the immediate future.

Promotion of natural gas is part of the Prime Minister's vision to increase its share in India's energy basket to 15 per cent by 2030, from the current 6.2 per cent to transform the country into a gas-based economy.

"PNGRB is taking various initiatives to promote natural gas in households as cooking fuel as well as in transport, commercial and industrial sectors," the statement said.

"National PNG Drive is one amongst them to facilitate supply of natural gas to existing registered customers besides enrolling customers for new PNG connections."City Gas Distribution (CGD) entities will actively participate in the National PNG drive, undertake various promotional activities to increase the awareness on the use of PNG - a clean, environmentally friendly, safe and reliable fuel.

Indraprastha Gas Ltd is partnering with PNGRB for the drive in the national capital. Other CGD entities are doing the same in other cities.

"During the campaign period, CGD entities will launch various promotional schemes. In addition, the entities will undertake door-to-door campaigns, organize road shows etc to encourage and enrol customers for conversion to PNG," it said.

Till date there are 300 geographical areas (GAs) authorized in the country, covering 98 per cent of the population and 88 per cent of its area for development of CGD Network.

"The targets up to 2032 inter alia includes installation of 12.5 crore domestic PNG connections, establishment of 17,751 CNG stations," the statement said.

As on November 30, 2023, 1.2 crore domestic PNG connections and 6,159 CNG stations have been established in the country.

"The National PNG Drive solicits collective efforts of all stakeholders, state governments, and local bodies to promote sustainable and clean energy solutions across the nation to meet the said objectives," it added.