Kochi: The savings in terms of fuel expense and other benefits of cleaner fuels have prompted many to opt for CNG (compressed natural gas) vehicles, especially auto and taxi drivers but the failure of authorities in opening more CNG filling stations in the region has made life difficult for them. They are nor forced to spend considerable time in queue to fill up the vehicles from the few CNG pumps in the city.
Last November, oil majors Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) promised to open at least 15 CNG filling stations before March, 2019. However, only one additional outlet was opened (in Cheranellore) in the last nearly one and a half years.
The commercial capital added nearly 1500 CNG autos and around 650 CNG cars in the last year. “A lot many of our members either bought new CNG autos or have converted their vehicles. Now nearly 1500 of 10, 374 members own the green fuel vehicles. They are finding it very difficult to fill the vehicles with just four pumps,” said M.B. Syamanthabhadran, convenor, Auto-Taxi Co-ordination Committee.
The main attraction is long-term cost saving factor. “The monthly fuel expense used to come to nearly Rs 20, 000 when I was using petrol. After I’ve set upCNG kit, the expense hovers around Rs 7000 to Rs 8000,” said Rahul KG, a car owner and an online cabbie.
IOC sources said they have already set up pump facilities but the “undue delay” in setting up the gas pipeline by the Adani Gas Private Ltd, which oversees the city gas project, has adversely affected their plans.
“The work of setting up CNG pipeline is moving at a snail’s pace due to various reasons like delay in getting permissions from the agencies concerned. We'll open anothet three oulets by September,” they said.
IOC, currently sole player in CNG distribution sector, has opened four CNG bunks at Container Road, Kalamassery, Pulinchodu and Kundannur, in March 2018.
The company was planning to open five new outlets at Irumbanam, Karingachira, Kakkanad, Chengamanad and Aluva.
However, owners need to invest in the beginning. The cost of CNG kit installation will differ according to the engine type and technology. While the normal one costs Rs 30, 000 to Rs 50, 000, the hitech ones will cost around Rs 1.5 lakh....