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India will auction 65 new areas for starting city gas operations as it seeks to boost consumption of the cleanest fossil fuel to fight air pollution.

Bids for the 65 geographical areas 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.

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board has invited bids for 65 geographical areas for developing city gas distribution networks, India’s oil ministry said in a Twitter post. The 11th auction round spreads across 208 districts and is the largest so far in coverage area.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is seeking to double gas’s share to 15% of the country’s energy mix by 2030. The country, which the World Bank said in 2016 was home to 14 of the 30 most polluted cities on the planet, will see $60 billion in investment in new pipelines and import facilities to increase use of the fuel.

The new round aims to expand natural gas coverage to 86% of India, giving cleaner fuel access to 96% of the population.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

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