In the context of the burgeoning fuel prices, someone had said recently that it would be much more pragmatic to mail your car to the intended destination, rather than driving it. The state transport department may or may not have picked up on this, but it has initiated a proposal to ‘go green’ and urged all government agencies to convert their petrol/diesel vehicles into compressed natural gas (CNG) ones. The move appears aimed not only to save precious fuel, but also moderate air pollution.
A letter in this regard has also been sent to several government departments at Mantralaya. According to sources, the transport department has asked the government to consider replacing its fuel-guzzling vehicles with CNG ones to reduce expenses, apart from benefiting with the usage of a cleaner fuel. Incidentally, the cost of CNG in Mumbai is Rs 33.10 per kg while petrol costs Rs 71 per litre.
Setting an example
If the suggestion is accepted, most government vehicles used for official purposes by bureaucrats, ministers, other politicians, police personnel, and myriad employees could be converted. “We can set an example for people to follow by converting at least 90 per cent of our government four-wheelers plying in Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai into CNG-driven ones,” said a transport department official on condition of anonymity. Initially, the endeavour is to bring this transformation to the financial capital and surrounding regions, as this may influence private vehicle owners to make the switch. Moreover, the estimated monetary benefit per vehicle through saving on fuel after converting to CNG could be well over Rs 1 lakh annually.
“Currently, CNG filling stations are available only in Mumbai and regions in close proximity. Smaller towns and villages don’t have these facilities. So, we need to run at least 10-20 per cent of vehicles on petrol/diesel in case of official visits,” added the official. The cost of installing a CNG kit in an automobile starts from Rs 25,000. There are 151 CNG filling stations and over 250 petrol pumps across Mumbai. “Apart from the slow pick-up speed, a CNG-based vehicle wouldn’t face too many hiccups,” said a transport expert. Transport commissioner VN More confirmed that such a proposal had been made by the department. Although there isn’t any actual calculation of the number of government vehicles in Mumbai and its metropolitan region, sources say the figure could be well over 20,000.
Rs 200 cr
Estimated amount the state government can save annually by switching its vehicles to CNG
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