Vijayawada: Thousands of CNG auto drivers in the city are facing hardships due to shortage of adequate compressed natural gas (CNG) to ply their auto-rickshaws.
A driver filling his auto at CNG filling station near Chanamolu Venkata Rao flyover in Vijayawada
Existing four gas filling stations in the city are insufficient to meet the requirement of the auto drivers, who had been waiting two to four hours every day to fill their cylinders with the compressed natural gas.
Of the five CNG filling stations, two have gas pipeline and remaining three are operated manually. Due to insufficient availability of CNG, the auto drivers could not ply their vehicles as per the demand and restricting their services to limited hours. Consequently, these auto-rickshaw drivers are losing income daily.
All the CNG stations are busy with filling gas every day. Due to heavy rush the auto drivers have to wait two to four hours for their turn. The transport department officials say that 13,000 CNG auto-rickshas are in and around the city.
Each CNG auto consumes at least five or six kilos of CNG gas per day. Each kg of CNG gives mileage of 30 km.
The existing CNG filling stations are not sufficient to cater to the needs of 13,000 CNG autos, said auto drivers. In addition to these vehicles, more than 4,000 CNG cars are plying in the city.
Arepalli Veereswara Rao, an auto driver, said the city needs at least five more CNG filling stations to meet the demand. He said each driver drives at least 300 km in and around the city daily as part of their daily duty.
E Swami, an auto driver, who uses rented auto-rickshaw said he spends at least three hours at filling station in Ajit Singh Nagar due to serpentine queue line. He lamented that many times, the drivers could not take lunch and spend standing in queue lines to fill gas.
Bhagyanagar Gas Limited (BGL), a joint venture of Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL) and HPCL, was incorporated as a city gas distribution company for distribution and marketing of CNG and piped natural gas (PNG) to domestic, commercial and industrial sectors in the state.
The first commercial launch of CNG kicked off in August, 2005 in Vijayawada. Since then, the number of CNG vehicles is on the rise gradually in the city.