‘Converting all vehicles to CNG in a year a tall order’

A day after the Gujarat High Court directed the state government to make it compulsory for all four-wheelers registered in Gujarat to convert to natural gas within a year,the Federation of Gujarat Petroleum Dealers Association (FGPDA) said it is not feasible for various reasons.

Written by Syed Khalique Ahmed | Ahmedabad | Published: July 27, 2012 4:22:38 am

A day after the Gujarat High Court directed the state government to make it compulsory for all four-wheelers registered in Gujarat to convert to natural gas within a year,the Federation of Gujarat Petroleum Dealers Association (FGPDA) said it is not feasible for various reasons.

Speaking to The Indian Express,federation secretary Arvind Thakkar raised questions about adequate availability of CNG and its distribution facilities across the length and breadth of the state. “Is it possible for the government to arrange enough CNG,all of which is imported,to implement the court order and create infrastructure facilities to supply CNG to all the 2,000 petrol pumps across the state? Will it be possible for all the petrol pumps to create additional storage and dispensing facilities for CNG within such a short time?” he said.

As CNG is transported through pipelines and not through tankers as in case of petrol and diesel,he said there are certain areas in the state where construction of pipelines is not allowed owing to environmental regulations and these regulations will come as a roadblock for various players in implementing the order.

But even if the construction permission is given,he said,it will be a mammoth task to be completed within one year.

He said that converting lakhs of four-wheelers — private as well as commercial — to CNG is also a herculean task. Thakkar said he was not sure if such a huge quantity of CNG engines will be available in the country and it will require some time for the manufacturers to produce lakhs of engines to meet the demand for different kinds of four-wheelers in Gujarat.

Federation treasurer Mayurbhai Mehta said the ruling will have adverse impact on petroleum refineries. The order,he said,was not practically feasible in its present form. He said that all the car makers will now need to manufacture CNG variants to ensure that they did not lose the market in the state.

Patan-based petrol pump owner Prashant Thakkar said it is not an easy task to set up a CNG station as also to instal pipelines for its supply in remote areas because it will entail huge expenditure. “Who will finance the expenditure,oil companies or the government? And how will this be recovered?” he asked. He said that all these things needed to be taken into account before taking any decision in implementing the order.

As for Delhi and Mumbai or other metro cities,he said it is practicable there because their areas are comparatively smaller.

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