8-year permit ban ends, TN bets on CNG autos to reduce pollution

Sources, however, indicated that the restriction on registering new petrol and diesel autorickshaws may continue.

Published: 05th September 2023 07:16 AM  |   Last Updated: 05th September 2023 07:16 AM   |  A+A-

Image used for representational purpose.

Express News Service

CHENNAI:  The eight-year ban on issuing permits for new autorickshaws has come to an end in Tamil Nadu. The state transport department has decided to allow the registration of autorickshaws that run on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG).

Sources, however, indicated that the restriction on registering new petrol and diesel autorickshaws may continue. Responding to a request from the industries, investment promotions, and commerce department, the state transport commissioner has instructed the Regional Transport Offices (RTOs) to grant waivers for registering CNG vehicles within the closed permit system.

“As of now, registration of CNG autos is banned in a few districts. All regional transport authorities are requested to grant contract carriage permits without any restrictions for both new and replacement CNG autos,” transport commissioner A Shanmuga Sundaram said in his directive.

The state industries department has sought relaxation in issuance of permits for CNG autos based on a request from the Indian Oil Corporation Limited, Sundaram said. No new permit was issued for autos since January 1st, 2015, due to shortage of parking space and traffic congestion. But conversion of petrol or diesel autos to LPG or CNG-fuelled ones was allowed. As of July 1, Tamil Nadu had 3.07 lakh autos. Also, RTOs have been directed to simplify the registration process for CNG vehicles. This policy change is to promote environment-friendly fuels and reduce air pollution, said officials.  

CNG is 30% cheaper than petrol or diesel: IOCL official

Currently, eight companies, including IOCL, IRM Energy, Torrent Gas and Adani Total Gas, operate 226 CNG retail stations in Tamil Nadu. Indian Oil has earmarked 11 districts --- Coimbatore, Salem, Dharmapuri, Theni, Tenkasi, Krishnagiri, Madurai, Virudhunagar, Kanniyakumari, Tirunelveli, and Thoothukudi --- for CNG retail sale through fuel outlets.

According to IOCL sources, pipeline installation for supplying CNG in Chennai, Tiruvallur, Kancheepuram, and most other parts of Tamil Nadu has been completed. “CNG is 30% more cost-effective than petrol and diesel. We have planned to establish 100 CNG retail fuel stations throughout the state in the next few years,” another IOCL official said.

The cost of installing the kit to convert petrol/diesel autos into CNG vehicles ranges from Rs 25,000 to Rs 40,000. “Drivers can recover this investment within six months and enjoy more rides without increasing their fuel expense,” the officer said. While one kg of CNG costs Rs 79 to Rs 80 in Chennai, a litre of petrol costs `102.63.

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