The Northern India Glass Manufacturers Association (NIGMA) has sought government’s intervention in saving glass units outside the Taj Trapezium Zone (TTZ) which are getting gas at higher prices.
NIGMA has alleged that government-run GAIL (India) is selling natural gas to units in TTZ at cheaper rates while the glass units outside the zone are getting the same gas at high prices.
“Due to this discrimination, the glass units outside the TTZ are facing huge problems. Their products have become uncompetitive and gradually the units are closing their production lines,” NIGMA President K K Sharma said. TTZ is an area of about 10,400 sq km around the Taj Mahal. It covers five districts in the Agra region and comprises over 40 protected monuments, including the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri.
In a representation to the Cabinet Secretariat, the association has urged to take up the issue with both the Petroleum and Environment Ministry. “As per the law, no new units can be set up in TTZ and the existing units cannot do capacity expansion. But both the things are happening. “Government should immediately take corrective action to encourage manufacturing under ‘Make in India’ without discrimination,” Sharma said.
The NIGMA has also urged the Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry to implement a Parliamentary standing committee’s recommendations of ‘one industry one rate’ for gas pricing to the glass industry throughout the country and to supply gas to TTZ glass industry at competitive market rates to check mushrooming of industry. The Association also cited a Supreme Court judgment that has observed that GAIL may examine the possibility of making available more quantity of gas to industries outside the trapezium.
It has also approached Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar, seeking his intervention in the matter as opening of new units in TTZ would damage the monuments. About 12 glass companies have closed due to the price discrimination outside TTZ area in the last 2-3 years, Sharma said.
The uniform pooling mechanism price for the industry in TTZ is Rs 17 per standard cubic meters (SCM), while units outside this zone are getting at Rs 45 per SCM, he added.