Bengaluru sluggish in adopting clean fuel

Bengaluru sluggish in adopting clean fuel

Despite the rapidly worsening air pollution, the city and state authorities appear to be sluggish in adopting the fuel considered a cleaner alternative to petrol and diesel.

Last year, the Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL) commissioned four Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) fuelling stations in the city with hope of rapid adoption. But a year later, there are only 250 vehicles retrofitted with CAG kits.

In  contrast, 72 lakh vehicles use petrol and diesel, blamed for the acrid smoke that dirties the clean air and severely impacts the health of those breathing it.

With the city struggling to get a handle on the pollution issue, authorities blame lack of infrastructure to rapidly adopt CNG. "The support system is inadequate," observed Transport Commissioner B Dayananda, while talking to DH.

Among the four fuelling stations set up by GAIL in September 2016, the one in Laggere off Magadi Road alone can refill 1,000 CNG vehicles a day. Compressors in the station are capable of delivering 1,200 Standard Cubic Metre per Hour (SCMH).

Significantly, the three other stations operate from inside the BMTC bus stations in Sumanahalli, Peenya and Hennur.

GAIL, general manager for projects, Partha Jana said  there is an acute lack of awareness in the use of CNG and its potential benefit to the city that faces a real battle to keep the air clean. "The government must launch a drive promoting CNG," Jana said.

"All public transport vehicles should be converted to use CNG, which would significantly help the environment and motivate the public to retrofit their vehicles with CNG fuel systems," he added.

The state government has, however, allotted the land to set up more fuel stations in the city. "That's a huge help. We're going to have 10  more stations by March 2018," Jana said.

Bengaluru needs no further example than Delhi, where the state government converted all public transport vehicles for CNG use as part of its action to improve the air quality.

CNG adoption also finds its policy basis in a Supreme Court order, dated April 5, 2002. Bengaluru was also among the cities with serious air pollution listed for a targeted gaseous programme.

On August 14, 2003, the apex court had also asked Bengaluru to produce a clean air action plan, including adopting CNG.

If the city needed further impetus, it came from a study by the Centre for Infrastructure, Sustainable Transportation and Urban Planning (CISTUP) of the Indian Institute of
Science.

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