CNG buses on City roads closer to reality

Petroleum Ministry issues notification on pricing guidelines

The Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) can finally ply CNG buses with the Union government notifying the Domestic Natural Gas Pricing Guidelines, 2014, recently.

The notification issued by Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas will apply to all natural gas produced domestically, irrespective of their source - conventional, shale or coal bed methane - from April 1, 2014. Accordingly, CNG wil be priced at an average price of liquified natural gas imports to India and benchmark global gas rates.

The formula will be applicable for five years, ie till March 31, 2019. According to senior officials of the BMTC, the CNG did not seem a viable solution in the past because of its pricing. However, the recent notification on gas pricing offers a solution and hence it will  be more economical to run buses on CNG, an official said.

With this, the BMTC authorities are planning to procure CNG-run buses for which refilling points will be set up at select bus depots. Though the Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL) has laid 73-km of gas supply pipeline across the Outer Ring Road, it lay in waste in the absence of CNG.

However, both the BMTC and GAIL officials had been in talks for quite some time now regarding running BMTC buses on CNG supplied by GAIL.  BMTC Managing Director Anjum Parvez told Deccan Herald that the BMTC was awaiting the notification to proceed with its plan on CNG buses. “In fact, the Karnataka government has been instrumental in getting the Centre to issue the notification after a crucial meeting with the Union Minister for Petroleum, Veerappa Moily, last year,” he said.

In July last year, the government had planned to set up 25 CNG stations across Bangalore to serve BMTC buses. It was also decided to run 300 buses on CNG with new buses being purchased under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission.The initiative was aimed at taking advantage of availability of CNG, thanks to Dabhol-Bangalore natural gas pipeline. However, the move was dropped considering the high price of CNG prevailing at that time.

CNG-run buses are hailed as fuel efficient and environment friendly. The use of CNG-run vehicles has been instrumental in reducing pollution levels in cities like Ahmedabad and Delhi. 

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