VIJAYAWADA: Thousands of auto-rickshaw drivers in the city are worried over the frequent hike in the prices of CNG and its shortage and demand that the government set up more gas stations and increase the supply.
President of Pragathisheela Auto Kharmika Sangham (PAKS) P Sekhar said that there are 8,600 autos in the city out of which 5,800 use the CNG. However, there are only four gas filling stations in the city which are unable to cater to the needs of the vehicle owners and drivers. Serpentine queues are a common sight at the filling stations.
“Sometimes, we may have to wait for five to six hours,” says, V Appa Rao, an auto-rickshaw driver at the city bus station. The shortage of supply at the filling stations is also adding to the woes of CNG auto drivers he adds.
While shortage of filling stations in the city is one side of the problem, its scarcity is the other. On an average, the total amount of CNG required for auto-rickshaws in the city is 11,600 kg per day while the availability is only 2,800 kg per day. CNG auto-rickshaws were introduced in 2006 in an attempt to check the pollution levels.
“Despite several pleas to the officials concerned in the past seven years, the problem remains unsolved till date,” says K Srinivas, committee member of the city Auto Drivers’ Union.
APSRTC FEELS THE PINCH
Meanwhile, APSRTC buses in the city are also facing a tough time due to shortage of supply. According to G Nagendra Prasad, deputy chief traffic manager of Krishna region, 312 buses in the city are dependent on CNG for which 21,000 kg gas is required every day.
“The RTC buses have been facing 10 per cent shortage of CNG since the Nagaram pipeline blast incident in East Godavari district,” he added. He also mentioned that RTC is planning to buy 90 diesel buses in November due to scarcity of CNG.
Supervisor at the Undavalli Centre refilling station - P Nageswara Rao - said that the supply from the Amalapuram pipelines was stopped following the Nagaram incident. The supply station at Pamulakaluva distributes gas to all filling stations, he disclosed.
Admitting the fact that the auto-rickshaw drivers had to wait for hours filling CNG, he said that supply was coming down gradually for the past seven years. Sources at the Bhagyanagar Gas limited (BGL), a joint venture of GAIL and HPCL, told the Express that repair of the gas pipelines would take three to four months, after which, the supply position would improve.