A serious start...

...has been made to convert APSRTC buses to CNG

By R Uma Maheshwari
Published: Thursday 15 November 2001

taking a cue from Delhi, Hyderabad is promoting Compressed Natural Gas (cng) in a big way. The Andhra Pradesh chief minister Chandrababu Naidu recently announced plans to convert state-run Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (apsrtc) buses to cng in Hyderabad, Vijayawada and Vishakhapatnam.

Mooted at a city-level meeting, three agencies are involved in the conversion plan. They are the Municipal Commissioner's office, which is working in close association with usaid, to 'promote green gases', ap Pollution Control Board, and the Industries department, which will look after the laying of pipelines. The Road Transport Authority would play its part after the implementation of the project. The ap government has announced waiving of road tax for those who convert their vehicles to cng, upto five years.

An Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board (appcb) member, T Chatterjee said that the organisation that 'spearheaded' the cng conversion plan was Washington-based Environmental Technology Evaluation Centre (evtec). The Centre works on "clean fuels while also helping to set up maintenance centres to check air pollution.

The basic idea, according to Chaterjee, is "to fund a programme for upgradation of Pollution Under Check centres -- numbered around 78 in Hyderabad -- and to set up computerised maintenance centres to check polluting vehicles." He further explained, "The advantage of this technology is that it gives online information of polluting vehicles to the Regional Transport Office and the police, and immediately, the registration of the vehicle can be cancelled."

The maintenance centres and the cng plan are part of the Air Quality Action Plan, which is being jointly co-ordinated by the appcb and Delhi-based Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (siam). The chief minister, Chandrababu Naidu wants siam and appcb to start work on the maintenance centres.

Chatterjee informs that five ngos have already filed petition in the High Court for reducing pollution in the city. The court, meanwhile, has cleared the use of Liquified Petroleum Gas (lpg) for three and four-wheelers. The appcb approves conversion of the three and four wheelers to lpg before cng can be brought in. "About 900 vehicles are being tried with lpg on a 'pilot' basis, since the sc has issued a directive against commercial operations in lpg, " Chatterjee said. The joint transport commisioner, C L N Gandhi, noted that the chief commisioner, explosives, had even recommended the use of lpg in buses.

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