With the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) expressing interest to supply Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) to the APSRTC, the latter’s plans to operate 350 CNG buses in the capital now seem to be back on track.
The RTC had introduced CNG buses on the city’s roads in 2012 with the objective of providing eco-friendly transport that was low on maintenance. But given the short supply of CNG, the authorities were recently forced to convert 30 such buses into the conventional diesel-operated ones at a cost of Rs.15,000 per bus.
The state-run Corporation currently operates 130 such buses, on different routes from Medchal, Cantonment and Hakimpet depots.
Depending on the route, each bus requires about 60 to 80 kgs of gas a day. But the Bhagyanagar Gas Corporation Limited (BGCL) is unable to supply the required quantity of gas, says a senior official. While the Corporation needs at least 10,000 kgs of gas every day, the BGCL can supply only about 6,000 – 7,500 kgs. Currently, the RTC purchases CNG at Rs. 45 per kg. Though the Corporation is willing to pay for the gas, regular supply is an issue. However, with the IOC approaching RTC to supply CNG on regular basis, things appear to be falling in place.
Last month, the IOC authorities had given a presentation on the supply of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). The IOC imports LNG from abroad. It is later processed and converted into CNG. RTC would have to provide space at depots for processing and converting LNG into CNG. Other aspects, including installation and maintenance of the equipment, will be taken care of by the IOC, says the official. “It involves a long procedure and IOC has not quoted any price till date. We are confident that the price would be affordable, though a bit higher than the present price. All these things would be discussed very shortly,” adds the official.
The APSRTC’s plans to have 350 CNG buses on the city’s roads, on the backburner due to gas shortage, may now be on track