Auto drivers want more CNG bunks in Kochi
As fuel prices have increased steeply over the past few months, auto drivers are now keen on buying vehicles that run on compressed natural gas (CNG), which is a much-cheaper and greener fuel. However, the shortage of CNG filling stations at prime spots in city is a big dampener and so they have asked the government to set up more filling stations. Indian Oil Adani Gas Private Ltd (IOAGPL) had set up four CNG filling stations at Kalamassery, Kundanoor, Muttom and Companypady in March 2018. Auto drivers said though CNG autos were not popular, over the past three months they have noticed an increase in demand for such vehicles. District general secretary of INTUC auto drivers’ union Biju KG said that autos running on diesel will no longer help auto drivers to make both ends meet. Fuel prices are increasing but not auto fare. Our only option is to move to CNG autos, he added. “CNG is available for Rs 53/ kg whereas one litre of diesel costs Rs 78. Moreover, CNG auto gives mileage of up to 50 km/kg compared to 25km/L for diesel. CNG auto will save us a minimum of Rs 250 in daily fuel consumption daily and cheap maintenance is the added benefit. But, visiting gas stations in Kalamassery and Kundanoor each day to fill CNG is impractical. More CNG pumps need to be set up in the heart of the city,” said Biju, who runs an auto in High Court Junction area. At the same time, a senior official of IOAGPL said more stations will be opened in the current financial year. Auto dealers said many drivers have exchanged their diesel autos for ones using CNG. “We sold around 120 CNG autos over the past five months and 60% of them were exchange deals. The operational cost for CNG auto is Re 1/km compared to Rs 3/ km for diesel ones. Now you know the reason,” said sales manager at a city showroom Anish ES.