CNG fuel stations in city not ready: BMTC's shocker

CNG fuel stations in city not ready: BMTC's shocker

Despite having three CNG fuel stations in its bus depots, the BMTC has told the southern bench of the National Green Tribunal that the fuel stations are not available.

"The Gas Authority of India (GAIL) has not made CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) available for vehicles in the city," the BMTC told the tribunal in its November 13 affidavit, a copy of which is available with DH.

"Even in the three places allotted by the BMTC in its bus depots to install CNG filling facilities, the said facility has not been made operational by GAIL," the transport corporation has said.

Contrary to the claims, GAIL had, in 2016, made CNG fuel stations operational in three BMTC depots - Sumanahalli, Peenya and Hennur. The fourth station is functioning at Beggars' Colony, off Magadi Road.

The three CNG stations also have dispensers for buses. A senior GAIL official said the PSU had permission from the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation to operate the stations.

When DH visited the fuel station at the Peenya BMTC depot, an employee said it was ready for use. "The BMTC must invest in CNG buses," the official said, adding the pump there can cater to 200 buses a day.

GAIL is also working on plans to make 10 more fuel stations operational in the city, contrary to claims by the BMTC at the green tribunal.

The BMTC further mentioned in the affidavit: "The ecosystem required to run buses on CNG is humongous, and under the circumstances, the question of operating CNG vehicles in Bengaluru will not arise at all."

BMTC managing director V Ponnuraj defended the affidavit, saying the fuel stations in question were not operational. He also revealed that the use of CNG would add an additional travel cost of Rs 12 per kilometre. "Most of the spare parts for CNG vehicles need to be imported since they are not available locally," he said.

He continued: "CNG may be eco-friendly and is good for the vehicle engine, but CNG buses are expensive. The Government Of India has announced the early implementation of the BS VI standard, for which diesel will be as good as CNG."

Delhi, Pune, Mumbai, Thane, Ahmedabad, Gwalior, Lucknow, Hyderabad and Indore are some of the cities where CNG buses are in use.

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