Monday, November 29, 1999

Not many takers for CNG, gas firm faces losses

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With only 85 of the 1,466 Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Ltd (PMPML) buses using Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), the Maharashtra Natural Gas Ltd (MNGL) that had installed CNG stations of nearly 1.10 lakh kg in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad areas is facing losses. The CNG consumption is just 23,000 kg a day while as many as 400 CNG buses were proposed for the transport utility."We were told that the buses would be in operation last month. However, the existing fleet and rickshaws use only 23,000 kg of CNG a day. We are definitely facing huge losses," MNGL managing director Shyam Sunder said.The 85 CNG buses used to fill fuel at stations in the PCMC area. From Saturday, with the main station installed at Shivajinagar, 40 of these buses had been shifted to Pune.There are 11 bus depots in the city, seven in the PMC and four in the PCMC area. As many as 307 buses operate in the 72 routes in the PCMC area while 1,159 buses operate in nearly 270 routes in the PMC area.According to PMPML officials, conversion to CNG will help them save Rs 11.37 over every litre of diesel. "As of now, we pay Rs 39.37 a litre for diesel while CNG would cost us only Rs 28. Each of the 85 CNG buses in our fleet utilise up to Rs 61.96 kg a day," one of them said.The civic standing committee had sanctioned Rs 96 crore for the proposed buses. The plan was to purchase 400 CNG-run semi-floor buses and 100 diesel-run low-floor buses. These buses are estimated to cost Rs 162 crore, with an assistance of Rs 81 crore from the Centre, Rs 32 crore from the state government and Rs 49 crore from the PMC.The PMC had received Rs 40 crore from the Centre while the standing committee had approved Rs 96 crore, which included Rs 56 crore from the PMC. Under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), 50 per cent contribution will be made by the Union Government, 20 per cent by the state and 30 per cent by the respective civic body.

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