Mumbai: No CNG for autos and taxis results in breakdowns
The city’s taxi’s and auto-rickshaws have been getting rich gas or Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) instead of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) at the stations run by Mahanagar Gas Limited (MGL). This is the impact of fire that engulfed ONGC plant in Uran couple of days ago which sadly also killed four people.
Jerks and sudden slow down; is how most of the black and yellow auto-rickshaws and taxis are moving on the road about in the past two days, making rides risky. This is because these modes of transport are getting Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) heavily mixed with rich gas or Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) at the stations run by Mahanagar Gas Limited (MGL). This has been the impact of fire that engulfed ONGC plant in Uran couple of days ago which sadly also killed four people.
In the past two days, the auto and cab drivers have been claiming that they are not receiving lean gas which is CNG at the gas stations. And instead, the vehicle tanks are being filled with rich gas or LPG. This has also been informed to the taxi and auto-rickshaw unions. Due to this there are technical issues that these vehicles are facing, while it is in motion. This slows down or even shuts the engine while the vehicle is in motion.
“When the auto or taxi slows down, there is hissing in the tank and there are frequent jerks that the vehicle undergoes. At times the engine also shuts down in the middle of the road and the driver has to restart it. That is the reason you will see, taxi or auto driver keeping parking lights on while driving to keep other motorists aware that there are some issues with his vehicle,” said an auto-rickshaw union member who was listening to these complaints made by the drivers.
This could be dangerous on highways where the vehicles come at high speed. The drivers claim that the vehicle if is travelling at a good speed then it doe not suffer from this problem much as the engine gets heated. “Usually during monsoon, we get CNG slightly mixed with LPG. But after the recent fire in Uran, we are getting rich gas in higher quantity,” said Rajesh Jaiswal, a rickshaw driver from Andheri.
Usually, CNG is clean and pure as air with the maximum quantity of methane while LPG comprises of butane and propane whose minute particles apparently cause issues in supplying gas to the vehicle while in motion. “We have received complaints from the drivers about this issue. We have been informed that enquiries on the incident are going on and so it will take some time before CNG supply will be normalised,” said AL Quadros, senior taxi union leader.
On Tuesday there was a massive blaze inside the ONGC plant at Uran which, hit gas supply. This facility is from where CNG and PNG are processed and supplied to MGL that then supplies to its gas stations. After the incident, the pressure at which CNG is filled has come down as well. Earlier this month there was another technical fault when oil got mixed with the CNG pipeline coming from Bombay High.
MGL receives its entire allocation of APM gas at Wadala. The gas is produced in Bombay offshore and is supplied by ONGC from their Uran Plant after processing. MGL supplies the gas as received and cannot alter its composition. Due to technical problems encountered by ONGC at its gas processing facility at Uran in recent past, gas supplies to MGL have been affected in terms of lower volume flow and high carry over of condensate along with the gas. Such occasional carry over of condensate in the gas does not adversely affect CNG vehicle performance while higher calorific value of such gas is expected to give higher mileage. After the recent fire incident at ONGC Uran, MGL has been receiving condensate rich gas at Wadala. The situation will change once ONGC’s gas processing facility starts normal operations.