Gas Authority of India Ltd (GAIL) has taken up a project to promote the use of compressed natural gas (CNG) as a fuel by developing a number of CNG corridors in the country.
The first such corridor will be started in Uttar Pradesh spanning from Mathura to Kanpur.
On his visit to Dibiyapur plant, GAIL Chairman and Managing Director B C Tripathi told Business Standard that the project had been finalised and the construction process had already begun.
“CNG offers a feasible and eco-friendly alternative to petroleum fuels. Vehicles running on CNG have found widespread acceptance,” he said.
The average annual growth in Natural Gas Vehicles (NGVs) since 2000 has been more than 30 per cent worldwide while that in Asia has been more than 50 per cent per annum.
GAIL has decided to promote the growth rate of CNG vehicles in the country through the aforesaid project.
“The technology to employ CNG on a large scale has matured and is widely commercialised. Natural gas vehicles are ready to operate with slight modifications in the engine and fuel storage tank and on the same basic principles as gasoline-powered vehicles,” Tripathi said.
Elucidating the benefits emanating from the proposed corridor, Tripathi said the project would increase the use of CNG as a transport fuel outside the municipal boundaries of a few big cities, as has been the case till now.
“This has put a cap on the use of CNG in the transport sector, because of a lack of distribution infrastructure and limited availability through dispensing centres. This has prevented the plying of CNG vehicles on highways connecting cities more than 150 km apart. To overcome this limitation and enhance the usage of CNG, it is important to create CNG corridors along highways to ensure availability of CNG to personal and commercial vehicles plying on them,” he said.
The corridor is aimed at developing user confidence in CNG’s reliability, availability and affordability.
According to Tripathi, they would not only prompt passenger vehicles to switch over to CNG, but also incentive heavy vehicles such as LCVs, HCVs and lorries towards CNG and make a major contribution towards reducing vehicular pollution.
Kanpur Member of Parliament Sripraksh Jaiswal has also welcomed the proposal from a social perspective.
He said that the implementation of such a CNG corridor project would promote infrastructure development, expand the gas market and create new employment opportunities.
“Once the corridor is set up, cold storages along the corridors would enable the infrastructure for storing perishable and agricultural commodities from the rural hinterland touching the corridor,” he said.
Tripathi also said that the authority had decided to increase the gas production from its Pata plant from the present 410,000 tonnes to 500,000 tones and set up a double gas pipeline from Madhya Pradesh to Shahjhanpur in Uttar Pradesh to promote industries along the pipeline.
He added that there would be a new gas plant in Assam by 2012 with an investment of Rs 2,000 crore.
The company is also working to supply piped natural gas in cities like Dewas (MP), Kota, Firozabad, Meerut, Sonepat and Baroda on a pilot basis.