Several CNG-aided autos off the road due to fuel problem in Patna
PATNA: The state government’s plan to reduce air pollution in the state capital through CNG-aided vehicles seems to have been grounded after its take-off with much fanfare on February 17 when PM Narendra Modi launched CNG fuel stations at Rukanpura, Bypass Road and Naubatpur under the City Gas Distribution (CGD) network.
Around 110 CNG-aided autorickshaws had hit the road after the gas supply started on February 19. But, there are few CNG-aided autorickshaws plying on the roads because of the problem of fuel.
Gudiya Sinha, who drives a CNG-aided autorickshaw from the airport to different parts of the city, told this newspaper that though the mileage of gas-based vehicles is better than that of petrol and diesel, but lack of its availability at prominent locations in the city is playing spoilsport.
“I operated the CNG-based autorickshaw for three to four days after inauguration, but stopped using it because I am not able to refuel it continuously,” she said.
Some of the drivers said the passengers expect low fares in CNG autorickshaws compared to those running on petrol and diesel. But there is not much of a difference in the cost of both the fuels and the fare cannot be dropped now.
Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL) officials said CNG costs around Rs63.47/kg in Patna. The prices of diesel and petrol, on the other hand, are above Rs70 and Rs76 per litre respectively.
Gudiya added, “Since the CNG stations are not available at the prominent locations in the city, we face problems in getting tanks refuelled. Even on the CNG stations, most of the time we find low pressure and our tanks never get filled properly.”
However, Ajit Kumar, owner of a Rukanpura petrol pump, said around 60 to 70 autorickshaws come to the CNG station for fuel daily. “Since the gas is being transported from Varanasi, the pressure remains low because of lower availability of it. If there is sufficient supply in the stations, the pressure will be maintained and we will be able to supply the gas to the vehicles as per their capacity,” he said and added: “We are only able to provide 2 to 3kg of CNG to a vehicle with a tank of 10kg capacity.”
GAIL officials, however, claimed that the gas pipelines in the city have encountered some problems which will be resolved soon. After that, the CNG stations will get the gas supply from the local pipelines itself.
When asked about the high price of CNG in the state, compared to other places like Delhi and Lucknow, a senior GAIL official said the tax imposed on CNG by the state government is around 26% whereas it is between 5% and 12% in other states. The tax imposed by the Delhi government on CNG is around 5% while it is 12% in Lucknow.