Gas Trouble: City Gasps For CNG

Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) is being strongly advocated to bring down pollution steeply climbing in the city. On the ground, people are avoiding conversion of vehicles to run on CNG, their sound reason being few outlets, that too not within easy reach of many. The move to get more CNG stations running is stuck owing to delay in permissions.

This has forced people to join long queues before petrol pumps, in spite of the price rise. Their logic is, at least petrol is easily available across the city.

With autorickshaws forced to convert to CNG facing the brunt of limited outlets, many car-owners who want to switch to the CNG mode are shelving their plans. Jaideep Shah of Bibwewadi, is one such vehicle owner.

"Everyday, I see huge queues at CNG outlets running at petrol pumps. This discourages me from making the switch,''he adds.

Auto unions had last year threatened to go on strike saying the few CNG filling stations available are unevenly distributed, and refilling is costing them valuable time and cutting down their operation hours to earn their bread.

After their threat to strike work, the district administration had pitched in with a single-window clearance system for faster permission for CNG outlets but Maharashtra Natural Gas Limited (MNGL) is learnt to be struggling to get clearances.

"Last August, we threatened to go on strike due to uneven supply of CNG and the compulsory rule of switching over to CNG. However, even as it was announced that a single-window system would hasten clearances, the situation has not changed. We continue to wait for four to five hours for 1-2 kg CNG," says Baba Shinde, president of the Pune Autorickshaw Federation.

The Federation has requested the administration not to make conversion to CNG compulsory in the current scenario.

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