The commissioning of the Kochi-Mangaluru Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) pipeline in January and the opening of six CNG dispensing stations in February are yet to proliferate the use of cleaner, greener and cheaper fuel in Mangaluru for want of adequate supply.
While commissioning the 450-km LNG pipeline on January 5, 2021, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that the pipeline will herald a new growth, in the automobile, industrial and domestic fronts. Nine months after the commissioning, compressed natural gas availability for vehicles has remained limited to a very few vehicles.
Yashwanth Kadri, who is in the road transport sector, said that he will see long queues of CNG-run vehicles waiting for fuel at the Kavoor dispensing station throughout the day. Many goods vehicles from Bengaluru and other areas running on CNG wait at the station to fill up, he said.
The Dakshina Kannada District CNG Consumers Association recently voiced concern over the short supply of fuel and said that severe shortage was being witnessed after prices of diesel and petrol saw a steep increase. While several new factory-fitted CNG vehicles are on road, many others have opted for retro-fitting of CNG tanks to save on the cost of operation, while enhancing mileage. However, short supply of fuel has been a deterrent, it said.
Sources in GAIL Gas Ltd., authorised distributor of LNG and CNG in Dakshina Kannada district, however, said that COVID-19 lockdown has slowed down laying of distribution pipes from the pumping stations at Arkula and MCF. Though CNG is being brought from Bengaluru through tankers, some of the dispensing outlets are yet to get additional power supply (35 kW) from Mangalore Electricity Supply Company (MESCOM), the sources said.
A master supply station coming up at Baikampady is likely to get commissioned in a couple of months and the situation may improve, the sources said.
MESCOM officials, however, said that there is no dearth of energy to be supplied to fuel dispensing stations. “We provide additional supply on demand and upon payment of the required deposit,” a senior engineer with the power distributor said.