New Delhi: No relief for private CNG cars may hit push for clean fuel
NEW DELHI: Delhi government’s decision not to exempt private CNG cars from the odd-even traffic rationing scheme could act as a disincentive for switching to the clean-burning fuel just when natural gas networks are being rolled out in 400 districts at an estimated investment of Rs 50,000 crore.
Delhi government is planning to implement the scheme from November 1 to tackle air pollution, largely caused by burning of crop residue in neighbouring Punjab, Haryana and western UP. But chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday said private CNG vehicles would not be exempted this time, even as his government was working on the exemption list. The CM’s statement drew howls of protest on social media as private CNG vehicles had been exempted in the earlier rounds of odd-even scheme because they have far lower carbon emission than petrol and diesel cars. On Tuesday, the government also exempted two-wheelers, even though they are more polluting in terms of carbon emission per unit capacity and have dodgy emission control records. No wonder social media posts reflected anger, outrage and betrayal the latter from car buyers who had chosen CNG variants. The outrage was heightened by two-wheelers, which account for 70% of the more than one crore vehicles on Delhi’s road, being exempted.The rapid expansion in CNG network planned by the Modi government as part of its plan to help cities breathe easy and reduce the economy’s carbon footprint has prompted automakers to step up CNG variants of their popular models. The Kejriwal government’s decision could slow down that momentum, auto industry executives told TOI, requesting anonymity.
The expansion of city gas networks is expected to cover 50% of the geographical area and 70% of the country’s population in the next few years. The Kejriwal government’s decision could also cloud the Rs 600 crore CNG network expansion plan of Indraprastha Gas Ltd, the Delhi government’s joint venture with central public sector utilities GAIL and Bharat Petroleum, as car buyers could switch back to petrol or diesel.