Close on the heels of Delhi, Maharashtra and Gujarat, Kerala is ramping up its CNG use on the road. As many as 597 CNG stations are in pipeline in the state, within a year.
“LNG stations had started retailing in four stations in Kochi in February. Five more outlets are coming up within a fortnight. And across the length of Kerala, we plan to set up 597 CNG stations,” according to Tony Mathew, GM, GAIL (Gas Authority of India Limited). Already, the daily CNG offtake from the stations has escalated from just 200 kg to 3,500 kg, he told FE.
Currently, about 80% of the country’s CNG stations are in Delhi, Maharashtra and Gujarat.
“The Union petroleum ministry envisages reaching out to 300 more districts across the country, in its goal to add 17 million vehicles to CNG use.
In Kerala, three-wheelers had been the first to climb the CNG bandwagon. From 19 three-wheelers, the number of CNG-using three-wheelers has gone up to 900, in barely a year and more owners are queuing up for the conversion, after the surge in petrol prices.
“Besides cleaner emissions, it yields about 50 km mileage per kg,” says Manikandhan, an autorikshaw owner. Uber is reportedly readying to ply 500 CNG vehicles in Kochi from this month.
“Following the rebuilding activities after the August floods in Kerala, the demand for new vehicles is seen favourable to the transition to CNG-fuelled vehicles.
Floods and landslides had also slowed down the work on the Kochi-Mangalore gas pipeline, after much building material were ruined by the rain.
Construction work has resumed in full steam and the Kochi-Mangalore gas pipeline would be complete by March 2019, according to Tony Mathew.
The work on the 437-km Kochi-Mangalore gas pipeline and City Gas Project would remain top priority, even though several mega projects in Kerala had to be pushed to the back burner, following the devastating floods, chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan told reporters.
Last year, when violent protests erupted over GAIL pipelines going across thickly-populated areas in North Kerala, chief minister had been quick to double the compensation for land-owners and speed up the project.