PCB demolishes sole CNG station near racecourse

Camp area motorists desperate to refill their vehicles fitted with Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) tanks were left fuming after the Pune Cantonment Board (PCB) demolished the only filing station available near the racecourse area yesterday.

Brought down: The CNG facility catered to more than 5,000 vehicles daily. Pic/Lopamudra Sahoo

With only a small number of CNG pumps in the city, the decision has surprised many residents, with the owner calling it blatant high-handedness by PCB officials. The petrol pump owner is alleging that he has acquired all the necessary permissions from the Central and state government, and PCB had no right in demolishing it.

Terming the action illegal, Ali H Daruwala, owner of the petrol pump, said, “I took all the required permissions from the Central and state government to run the facility. After receiving a notice from PCB earlier, I requested Lt Gen AK Singh, GOC (General Officer in Command) to direct PCB officials that the plant is in accordance with the Government Resolution (GR) issued by the Centre.”

According to the GR, dated September 21, 2004, it is mandatory for every petrol pump owner to set up a CNG plant facility at his or her petrol pump. “The Central government has invested Rs 3 crore in setting up of the plant, and I have been running this petrol pump from the last 50 years and the CNG plant was in service since two years. The CNG facility caters to more than 5,000 vehicles daily.”

The CNG facility was set up after getting permission from the explosives department of the Central government. “It shows the duplicity of PCB officials who on one hand show that they are keen to promote environment-friendly fuel, and on the other hand stop people from doing the same”, said Daruwala.

Subhas Kanse, former Treasurer of Pune Cantonment Autorickshaw Sanghatana, said, “Camp area has around 15,000 vehicles fitted with CNG tanks, and now after the demolition of this filing station, it will create a lot of problems for motorists. PCB officials are behaving like dictators, as they are not listening to anyone. Before demolition, PCB should have at least thought about the plight of the citizens.”

The other side
Vice president of PCB, Aarti Mahajan said, “The facility was not in accordance with our laws. We took strong action after the petrol pump owner failed to get permission from Lt. Gen AK Singh, (GOC).”

In the pipeline
PMC’s Standing Committee yesterday decided to provide land for two CNG stations — one at Survey number 130 in Katraj, while the other at Survey number 427 in Gultekdi area. Both lands comprising 750 sq-m and 496 sq-m respectively would be made available under rental contract for next 30 years by charging Rs 10 lakh annually. 

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