City gears up for shift to CNG fuel mode in 6 months
Thiruvananthapuram: The capital city will switch to compressed natural gas (CNG) for fuelling the
vehicles in six months. Transport commissioner Tomin J Thachankary said that the public sector oil
companies have agreed to launch five CNG filling stations in the city corporation limits. Kochi and
Kozhikode will also get five CNG stations each.
The state doesn't have CNG filling stations, which has affected the efforts to curb air pollution
caused by diesel engines. The motor vehicle department has proposed the government that once
the CNG filling facility is operational, the city buses and taxies, including autorickshaws, should be
asked to switch to CNG, which is highly economical and environment friendly. KSRTC's city services
will also be asked to migrate to the system. Thachankary also said that since the state has not
imposed any tax on CNG, the companies will be able to supply CNG at Rs 39/kg that will also provide
150% fuel efficiency.
At the same time, the concern remains whether the vehicles, especially smaller vehicles like
autorickshaws, will be able to afford the cost of changing to CNG engines from the existing engines.
"The cost for switching to CNG engines varies from Rs 3 lakh to Rs 10 lakh for small to heavy vehicles.
But it has been worked out that a city bus that plies 150km a day can recover its investment of Rs 10
lakh on CNG engines in two years," transport commissioner said.
He added that the government will have to think of an option like 'green fund' set up by states like
Karnataka to provide assistance to small vehicles to convert their engines to CNG engines.
The agreement was made after discussions with Hindustan Petroleum, Bharat Petroleum
Corporation Ltd, Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) and Gas Authority of India Ltd. In Thiruvananthapuram,
IOC will be the CNG provider. Thachankary said that the move was sped up to provide CNG as fuels
for vehicles on the basis of the recent order of the national green tribunal.
In Kochi, the gas will be made available through pipelines, while in Thiruvananthapuram and
Kozhikode, the gas will be distributed by road in cryogenic tanker lorries. The CNG terminal at
Puthuvype in Kochi has been connected to main gas station of the IOC at Pathadippalam by pipeline,
and the pipeline laying to the fuel stations will be completed in six months. The CNG filling stations
will be set up in the existing facilities at the fuel stations where there are enough space.
The transport commissioner said that once the facility becomes functional in the three proposed
cities, Kannur, Thrissur and Kollam will be covered in the next phase.