As many as 1,000 households in Qutabgarh are expected to get piped natural gas (PNG) connection by the end of January, marking the first instance of a village in Delhi moving towards freedom from cylinders.
The initiative, launched on December 21 by Lieutenant Governor (LG) Vinai Kumar Saxena, ensured connection to nearly 350 households in the first phase and will soon spread across this north-west Delhi village along with four other villages — Jaunti, Nizampur, Rawta and Daurala.
“In the first phase, 350 households have already got PNG connection in Qutabgarh. We are optimistic about providing PNG connections to all the 1000 households in Qutabgarh by the end of this month. Apart from this, work is in progress in four villages that LG has adopted. PNG will reach the villages of Jaunti, Nizampur, Rawta and Daurala by March,” said an LG house official.
Special camps were set up in the village for the remaining households to apply for PNG connection.
In the village, there is a mix of excitement as well as impatience as those who haven’t managed to get the supply look restless.
“Only very few households this side – 10 to 15 — get gas supply from PNG. In some lanes, they have fixed the pipe but there is no supply, and the pipe is yet to reach some sub-lanes. Aadha adhura kaam hai (The work is only half-done),” said Somdutt, 63, to Patriot.
LG’s office told Patriot that a technical glitch may be the cause of some houses not getting the supply.
Somdutt, who is one of those who haven’t received PNG supply yet and still depends on gas cylinder, showed the village lane where the pipeline is yet to reach and is quite pessimistic about the initiative considering the past experience with the construction of the road.
“10 baar LG aa gaye, sadak tak nahi bani. Dhakosla jyada hai (The LG has visited 10 times, and the road has still not been constructed. This is just show-off),” added Somdutt.
The process of bringing PNG to this village started after the LG adopted this village. Initiatives for developing Qutabgarh as a model village began in September 2022 with the plantation of 1,000 saplings of sandalwood by 500 farmers.
There are two types of connection, explained Somdutt.
“In the Rs 1,000 connection, you need to pay Rs 30 per month service charge besides the bill (cost per unit is Rs 48.59). If you take the Rs 7,000 connection, you don’t need to pay any monthly charge and the amount is refundable in case of rollback.”
Like Somdutt, 66-year-old Sheela Lamba is also eagerly waiting for the connection two months after paying the connection charges.
The retired nurse of ESI Hospital, Delhi, lives with her husband and applied for the connection two months ago.
“I paid the connection fee of Rs 1,000 two months ago, but my house has not yet got connected. He (the official) promised to start it within a month and a half. I will file an online complaint regarding the delay. They showed off only four connections during the inauguration,” said Sheela, who was making chapatis on her chulha connected to a gas cylinder.
However, for houses that managed to get the connection, like the one visited by LG during the inauguration, it was a relief largely because of the lower charges as compared to gas cylinders.
“Two-three days before the inauguration, some people came and decorated our kitchen and home. They discussed with us the protocol of LG’s visit,” Krishna shared her experience with Patriot.
“The experience was good. Two stoves were lit by LG and two were lit by me. He then asked if we had any other wish. We asked him to get the village road constructed. He promised to do that,” said Krishna as her sister-in-law looked on.
Krishna is quite happy as she will end up spending less than expected.
“The monthly bill would be around Rs 400, which is cheaper than a cylinder. So, it is good,” they said happily.
Satish and Poonam are also among those who have got the PNG supply in their house and have used it for around a month. They were happy enough to serve us tea made through PNG.
“This was installed on December 2. It is very easy and less likely to catch fire,” she told Patriot.
“We don’t have to worry about booking cylinders and fret over empty cylinder in the middle of the night.”
Her husband also looked relieved and is grateful.
“I have not faced any tension with regard to booking for a month now,” he said. “We just hope that the service ahead is good and problems are resolved quickly.”
Rajbala, 60, who is a neighbour of Poonam and Satish, said, “Bahut achchha lag raha hai bhai koi pareshani nahi hai (I am feeling very good, there is no problem).”
She lives with her son who works in Sadar Bazaar and had to book cylinders earlier. That problem is over now.
“Though that (cylinder) was also fine, but we had to worry about booking cylinders, which is not the case now.”
An official of the Indraprastha Gas Limited (IGL) told Patriot that around 200-250 connections have been completed so far in the village [as against the 350 connections mentioned by the LG house].
“We started supply in 10 households at the time of the inauguration. I believe the whole village will have a functional PNG connection by June, 2024. The line has been laid and the fitting work at home is in progress,” the official said.
Apprised of the fact that there is a sub-lane without a PNG line, the official said, “It can’t be done in one go. This is a big village which will take time. It’s a process. Many people don’t want connections and some have not even made payment yet.”
In June 2023, the Delhi LG decided to adopt an additional four villages in Delhi, aiming to develop them into model villages by enhancing their civic infrastructure and other facilities.