CNG to fuel BMTC buses soon; 25 depots planned
Three-hundred Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) buses will soon run on compressed natural gas (CNG). The State government and Gas Authority of India Limited (Gail) will also set up 25 CNG depots across the city.
These decisions were taken at a meeting of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister M Veerappa Moily and top Gail officials in Bangalore on Saturday.
Siddaramaiah and Moily told reporters after the meeting that the State government and Gail had already floated a joint-venture company that would set up and manage the depots.
The first CNG-fuelled buses would ply on Bangalore’s roads in the next three-four months.
The initiative was aimed at taking advantage of the availability of CNG, thanks to the Dabhol-Bangalore natural gas pipeline reaching Bangalore.
The change in fuel that is used by public transport corporations would help reduce air pollution.
They said the new buses would be purchased under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission.
In the second phase, more CNG-enabled buses would be purchased. The number of CNG depots would be increased to 65.
The chief minister said the State government had already signed a memorandum of understanding with Gail for supplying fuel to the 700-MW gas-based Bidadi power plant, “which is likely to be commissioned by 2015.”
The State government was also contemplating converting the Yelahanka diesel power generation plant into a gas-based one.
The plant stopped functioning after Karnataka State Pollution Control Board found it to be polluting the environment.
Moily said his ministry was ready to give free insurance cover to those who switch to CNG vehicles.
Moily said Gail was working to set up a branch line to Udupi from the Dabhol-Bangalore gas pipeline project at Chitradurga.
The proposed line, 350 km long, is expected to pass through Shimoga and Mangalore at an estimated cost of Rs 1,400 crore.
There was another proposal to have a 140-km branch line from Chitradurga to Bellary at a cost of Rs 700 crore, he said.
Enumerating the advantages of the Dabhol-Bangalore pipeline, 750 km of which passes through the State, a top Gail official said it could open up a green corridor along the National Highway-4 by providing refuelling facilities to CNG-powered public transport
It would also provide green fuel for industries, power plants and fertiliser plants, among others.