Bangalore rides on LPG

Canadian gas kit trial in autos; auto drivers dissatisfied

By Deepa Kozhisseri
Published: Monday 31 October 2005

the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (kspcb) has tied up with a Canadian government agency to try out a new gas kit expected to give greater mileage, increase fuel efficiency and reduce pollution through emissions. Since two weeks 25 autos in the city have been fitted with these. "We are going to monitor carbon dioxide and hydrocarbon emission, fuel efficiency and noise once in 15 days for four months,'' said M N Jayaprakash, senior environmental officer, kspcb, who has also been supplied with monitoring equipment.

Four years after the Karnataka High Court made it mandatory for auto rickshaws to switch to liquefied petroleum gas(lpg) not even a quarter of the 73,000 public autos on Bangalore roads have adhered to it. The cost of the conversion kits is cited as the biggest stumbling block even as autodrivers are trying to meet the transport department's final deadline of June 2006. The cost of retrofitted tank varies from Rs 14,400 - Rs 21,000. Auto drivers complain that the Rs 2,000 subsidy given by the transport department is too less and is provided only when they make a cash down payment. While the cost of the Canadian gas kit is still not known, the approximate expense for 25 gas kits with the monitoring equipment is Rs 20 lakh, says Jayprakash. The expense for the trial is being borne by the Canadian government under the Canada-India Environmental Infrastructure Strengthening Project. Bangalore and Kolkata have been identified for this demonstration project. At its end the kspcb will prepare a report based on which a decision on commercial production will be made. Canadian company Yugotech will take up commercial production in collaboration with an Indian partner if the kspcb approves of this trial. The cost of the kits will determine if auto drivers will choose it over the Indian make.

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