PNG comes to a halt

PNG comes to a halt
Highlights

PNG comes to a halt, Pipeline Natural Gas, Compressed Natural Gas, Bhagyanagar Gas Limited. The ambitious Pipeline Natural Gas (PNG) project has been stalled due to uncertainties over the supply of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG).

• Supply of CNG is not assured

• Works stopped at pipeline phase

The ambitious Pipeline Natural Gas (PNG) project has been stalled due to uncertainties over the supply of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG). The current supply of CNG is not enough to cater to the needs of three and four wheelers. Bhagyanagar Gas Limited (BGL) had set an ambitious target of installing 1 lakh PNG connections by April 2014. But with less than two months left for the deadline, only 440 PNG connections have been completed

Plans to curb pollution in the city by installing Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) cylinders in vehicles and households, with Bhagyanagar Gas Limited (BGL) as the nodal agency, has been limited only to paper work. When the project was launched on November 21, 2011, the BGL authorities ambitiously claimed that they would install 2.66 lakh connections in five years. Of these, 1 lakh were touted to be installed by April 2014. With less than two months left, only 440 connections are in place. The authorities also claimed that with an estimated budget of Rs 3,166 crore, they would control and distribute CNG in the city in 20 years.

Only 32 km of the pipeline works have been done so far. Though proposals were made to construct pipelines at Suchitra Junction, Kompally, Jeedimetla, Banjara Hills etc., sadly none saw the light of day.

PNG was tested on an experimental basis at 30 quarters in NALSAR University after the first CNG station at Shamirpet was started. This experiment yielded more than satisfactory results. It was based on these results that they planned to increase the number of connections to 1000 in the Medchal area, but only 400 are operational.

Though 32 km pipeline works have been completed, connections haven’t been given to households as of now.

Speaking to Hyderabad Hans, a senior official with the BGL said, “We laid pipelines and were ready to give connections. But there was no CNG. If there was enough supply, we would have completed the household connection works, too.”

Reliance is not reliable

Reliance which was entrusted with the supply the CNG, simply couldn’t meet the demands of the city. The CNG supplied by it was barely enough for three wheelers and APSRTC buses. According to an agreement made earlier, Reliance was supposed to supply 55,000 metric cubic metres per day (mcmd), which it failed to provide. With the intervention of Bhurelal Committee, the company is now supplying 20,000 mcmd. It has, however, made it clear that it cannot provide more.

No permission from defence department

An environmental protection committee was set up with Bhurelal as the head to inspect the works. The committee always gave a pleasant and good picture about the works, whenever it visited the city for inspection. However, according to inside sources, 5km of the pipeline passes through Alwal and the land there belongs to the defence. Initial application for construction of pipeline by the BGL was rejected by the defence authorities. The authorities haven’t applied again as yet.

Usage of diesel

With no CNG availability, many are vying for diesel operated variants. This is contributing to an increase in pollution. According to the statistics with the transport department, there are 240 CNG operated cars and 2632 CNG operated autos in the city.

APSRTC worst hit

APSRTC had made elaborate plans and even got funds under the JNNURM scheme to purchase 350 buses which would be run on CNG. But currently only 110 buses in Cantonment and Shamirpet depots are running on CNG.

Vijaya Laxmi, deputy chief manager, Greater Hyderabad Zone, APSRTC, said, “We are not in a position to increase the strength of buses beyond 110 due to adverse position of CNG supplies. The supply is limited and is not in line with the demand. However, if the supply of CNG improves and the BGL authorities promise uninterrupted supply, we would review it.”

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