The delay in clearances to set up Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) stations has hit the fares of autos running on CNG. The fares of CNG-operated autos,which should have been less,are no different than fares of autorickshaws running on petrol.
Rickshaw union representatives claim that due to inadequate number of CNG stations they have to wait in long queues to refill fuel and in turn lose out on a number of customers during the day.
While at a recent meeting,it was decided that Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad will get six new CNG stations by year-end,taking the total number of CNG stations to 23,rickshaw unions are not willing to buy the argument.
These are just mere announcements. Untill the numbers of CNG stations are increased in the city,the situation will not change, said members of a rickshaw union.
The autorickshaw drivers had recently threatened a strike to protest the inadequate supply of CNG in the city.
Nitin Pawar,convenor of the rickshaw panchayat,said they had requested the government to streamline the CNG supply in the city. For the past two years,the auto fares have not increased in proportion to the hike in CNG rates. The recent hike in fares is in keeping with the increase in CNG rates,said Pawar.
With the demand for setting up more CNG stations gathering momentum,the district administration said that a CNG pump would be set up in Pisoli. Work on the CNG station at Wagholi is under way.
As of now,as many as 30,000 rickshaws run on CNG. While the city consumes 2.7 lakh kg gas,with an increased demand,the MNGL is preparing to supply 4-lakh kg CNG. One kg of CNG,which costs Rs 45,gives more mileage than a litre of petrol.
However,inadequate number of CNG pumps have discouraged owners to convert petrol operated autos into CNG rickshaws.
With the recent meeting addressing commission-related issues,we are expecting more petrol pumps to initiate steps to start CNG outlets, said a district official.