Car owners, autorickshaw drivers forced to wait in serpentine queues at fuel stations

There is severe shortage of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) in the capital. As a result, many CNG vehicle owners, including car owners and autorickshaw drivers are forced to wait in serpentine queues at fuel stations in Abids, Nagole, Secunderabad and other areas.

At times, drivers are forced to sleep at the fuel stations to purchase gas the next day. Despite this, there is no guarantee that the required quantity of the gas would be supplied, fumed A. Sathi Reddy, secretary of A.P. Auto Drivers Samaikya. Nearly 5,000 cars and about 20,000 autorickshaws run on CNG in the capital.

“Most drivers, specially those operating autorickshaws on hire are facing tough times. Despite losing their daily livelihood because of long durations of waiting at fuel stations, they are forced to pay daily rent to the vehicle owner,” claims Mr. Reddy.

Even APSRTC is forced to cut short its plans to operate more CNG buses due to short supply. The corporation is presently operating 125 CNG buses which use about 8,000 kg of CNG everyday. In 2009, authorities had announced that they would operate 350 CNG buses to curb pollution emission levels.

But despite repeated appeals to the Bhagyanagar Gas Corporation Limited, they have not given any assurance to increase supplies, said a senior RTC official. “Hence, we are unable to operate more buses,” he added.

There are 12 CNG outlets in the city and its surroundings. Each outlet requires 1,500 to 1,800 kg of CNG every day but oil companies do not supply the required quantity. They hardly supply about 1,000 kg to each outlet, said Rajiv Amaram, Joint Secretary (South), Confederation of Indian Petroleum Dealers.

Unable to cope up with the situation, the 12 fuel station owners have decided to operate their outlets from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dealers convened a special meeting recently and are issuing notices to oil companies about operating their outlets for limited hours.

It is not just vehicle owners, who are facing problems, even fuel station owners also are having problems as the monthly expenditure to operate the outlets comes to about Rs.45,000, claimed Mr. Amaram. He urged oil company authorities to improve the gas supply as 20,000 more CNG autorickshaws were likely to hit the roads very shortly.

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