WBTC set to convert bus fleet from diesel to CNG
West Bengal Transport Corporation (WBTC) and Bengal Gas Co Ltd (BGCL) on Monday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that paves the way for the introduction of compressed natural gas(CNG) as the fuel to operate its diesel bus fleet. “CNG will give us immunity from the rising diesel prices and also check pollution significantly,” said transport minister Firhad Hakim. The agreement was signed between Bengal Gas CEO Satyabrata Bairagi and WBTC managing director Rajanvir Singh Kapur in the presence of transport secretary Rajesh Sinha. WBTC will convert the buses from diesel to CNG in a phased manner. Congratulations! You have successfully cast your vote Login to view result “Apart from building CNG stations at WBTC’s bus depots, we are working out on an incentive scheme to attract private bus operators to run their fleet on CNG. There can be a two-year tax holiday for running electric and CNG buses,” Hakim added. Acknowledging that the demand for fare hike by private bus operators in the wake of the sharp rise in fuel prices was justified, the minister said that the government was constrained to give the nod as commuters were equally hard pressed. The shift to a cheaper fuel alternative, he reasoned, was a viable alternative. The CNG stations for WBTC buses will be in place within six months. “We are exploring the technology, by which we can run our diesel buses on CNG. For a car, the conversion from diesel to CNG costs Rs 30,000 but for buses, it is a bit expensive. We have asked Kapur to find the appropriate technology for this conversion,” said the transport minister. Such conversion had been carried out in Delhi over decades ago. Thereafter, it has purchased CNG buses from the manufacturers. BGCL, a joint venture company of GAIL & Greater Calcutta Gas Supply Corporation Ltd (CGSCL), was authorized by Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) for the supply of CNG through pipeline in Kolkata metropolitan area. BGCL and WBTC on Monday entered into a five-year agreement, where BGCL will be setting up CNG facilities within the premises of WBTC and supply CNG to buses. In the first phase, BGCL will set up eight stations at bus depots at Howrah, Salt lake, Thakurpukur, Nilgunj, Belghoria, Santragachi, Karunamoyee and Kasba. BGCL will be investing Rs 3.5 crore to build up CNG infrastructure at each depot. About 15 buses can be refuelled in an hour with two bus dispensers in the CNG stations at bus depots. Hakim said, “We are focusing on electric buses and now CNG so that the city can become greener and cleaner.” It is because of the land issues with the laying of the final phase of the pipeline from North 24 Parganas to Kolkata that BGCL will supply CNG in tankers. But within next six months, the pipeline laying will be complete.