BENGALURU: With the Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL) starting the supply of compressed natural gas (CNG) for vehicles, including autorickshaws, cars and buses, motorists in the city can soon get cleaner and cheaper fuel.
GAIL officials told Express that they had commenced supply at the city’s first CNG filling station at Premnagar in Laggere near Sumanahalli. “Work on other CNG filling stations at Sumanahalli, Peenya and Hennur — all near BMTC bus depots — are nearing completion,” said GAIL’s General Manager (Projects) Partha Jana.
“We have also signed an agreement with Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) to open CNG filling outlets at about 10 petrol bunks operated on Old Airport Road, Hennur Road, HSR Layout and Whitefield,” he said. GAIL plans to set up 60 CNG filling stations in the next five years across the city.
Transport Department officials have urged motorists to go for CNG to reduce vehicular pollution. “Conversion of diesel or petrol vehicles to CNG will reduce pollution in the city. We will soon identify a list of authorised retrofitting centres and CNG workshops in the city and upload it on our website,” a senior Transport Department official said.
Experts say fitting a CNG kit into a car will cost about `35,000 to `40,000. In Bengaluru, GAIL has fixed the price of CNG at `41.50 per kg, which is cheaper than diesel and petrol. “CNG is environmental friendly and 60 per cent cheaper than petrol or diesel,” Jana said.
Many motorists welcomed GAIL’s move. “It’s a good move to have GAIL because CNG is cheaper than petrol and diesel. I plan to retrofit a CNG kit in my car but I don’t know any authorised centres. The Transport Department should create an awareness among motorists to convert to CNG,” K Ramagowda, a luxury car owner in Peenya, said.
In 2014, the state government had announced that 271 CNG buses will be inducted into BMTC under the JnNURM funds. GAIL also identified three CNG stations in BMTC depots considering the demand. However, BMTC does not have plans to induct CNG buses for now as it feels switching to CNG will be expensive. Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy told Express there were no plans to switch to CNG buses for now.
The Karnataka High Court recently asked KSRTC and BMTC to run their buses on the eco-friendly CNG instead of diesel to reduce pollution. The court also said that the high cost of CNG buses cannot be an excuse to postpone introduction of buses that use green fuel.
Autorickshaw Drivers Union General Secretary Rudramurthy said they are ready to convert to CNG if they receive financial support from the government.