Autorickshaw drivers making a beeline for CNG outlets may be a common feature in the city. And if you ask about the reason, short supply is the common refrain.
But, HPCL authorities and outlet owners have a different tale to tell.
Autorickshaw drivers, who are major consumers of CNG in the city, do not fill the tanks at one go. As the vehicles are taken on daily rent basis, the drivers try to ensure that gas is not left unused before returning the vehicle to the owner. So, they purchase only one or two kg gas each time they visit the fuel station, explains P. Srinivas, manager of a filling station at Ajitsingh Nagar.
There are in all 5,000 CNG autorickshaws in the city. Of these, 1,200 alone are in the Payakapuram and other adjoining areas. Most of the drivers work in shifts and hire the vehicles. Though the tank has a capacity of 5.5 kg, the drivers purchase only one to two kg.
The filing time too plays a role. It takes three to four seconds to fill the gas. If it were petrol or diesel, tens of litres could be filled into the tank. As CNG has to be filled at a high pressure of about 200 psi, it consumes more time.
HPCL Area Sales Manager P. Ravi Kumar says there is no dearth of CNG supply. In all, 300 tonnes of gas is being supplied to the city every month. At present, there are three outlets — Bhavanipuram, Ajitsingh Nagar, Ramavarappadu — in the city. The company has plans to open three more outlets, one each at Autonagar, Gollapudi, and Ibrhaimptnam in the next financial year.
The new outlets are being planned keeping in view the increasing demand for the CNG.
The demand is growing by 8 per cent to 10 per cent every year.
Applications have been submitted to the district Collector for issuance of the ‘No Objection Certificate'.
The CNG outlets require a lot of safety precautions and cannot be opened at all places, Mr. Ravi Kumar says.