CNG Bengal debut in coal beltDurgapur: CNG-powered vehicles have arrived in Bengal, though in a small way.
Seven autorickshaws that will run on compressed natural gas (CNG) have been registered in Asansol.
The number will go up to 800 in the next few months, Burdwan district magistrate Manish Jain said.
“We are going to ban petrol-run autos in Asansol and Durgapur from December 1. Earlier, CNG was not available in Bengal but Great Eastern Energy Corporation is now producing it from methane gas in the coal belt and so we took the decision,” he added.
The district administration will not renew licences of petrol autos after December 1. Owners will either have to convert or buy new vehicles.
The seven that obtained registration yesterday are new autos.
Great Eastern, the first company to produce coal-based methane in India, signed an agreement with Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) last year to supply and sell CNG through its outlets in the region.
CNG is now available at two IOC pumps in Asansol and Barakar. Great Eastern also has its own outlet in Barakar. Several outlets are set to come up in Durgapur, Ranigunj, Panagarh and Asansol in the next three months.
Initially, CNG autos will be introduced only in the coal belt because of the availability of CNG.
“Once it is available in other parts of the state, we will urge owners of all petrol- run autos to convert or get a new one. The environment department will provide Rs 10,000 as subsidy for buying a new auto after disposing of an old one,” said Arifuddin Khan, the assistant regional transport officer.
In July, Calcutta High Court had said all autorickshaws, irrespective of their age, would have to convert to CNG or LPG to ply within the Calcutta Metropolitan Area.
The price of a new CNG auto in Bengal is Rs 1.28 lakh. It takes Rs 30,000-35,000 to convert a petrol-run auto into CNG.
Besides being environment friendly, CNG is much cheaper than petrol. An auto runs as much on a kilo of CNG as on 1.45 litres of petrol.
In Asansol, CNG sells at Rs 30 a kilo.
“It will be an automatic choice for public vehicles once it is available across the state as it is cheaper and eco-friendly,” said an official of Great Eastern, which has been exploring methane — a key ingredient of CNG — in the coal mines.
The auto owners’ Citu union supports the conversion drive. Convener Hemanta Sarkar said: “The use of adulterated petrol by a section of drivers has taken pollution to a dangerous level. We welcome the move and request the administration to ensure that au- tos registered in Jharkhand and Bihar do not ply here.”
The sale of CNG autos in the region has been picking up. Prashant Jaiswal, the only dealer for CNG autos here, said 30 have been sold and another 42 booked.
Great Eastern Energy Corporation Ltd. (GEECL), a part of the YKM Holdings Group, is the first Private Sector Company in India to explore, develop, distribute and market Coal Bed Methane. In December 2005, GEECL became the first Indian Company to be listed on the London Stock Exchange's Alternative Investment Market (AIM). The notional market capitalisation of the Company as of July 13, 2007 was GBP 172 million / US$ 350 million.
The organization, headed by Mr. Y.K. Modi, is exploring & developing production wells for Coal Bed Methane in Raniganj coalfields, West Bengal. GEECL has completed 23 vertical production wells. All the wells are drilled, logged, cased, cemented and fractured. Apart from this 8 Core hole have drilled for desorption and other studies. Learn more about GEECL on http://www.geecl.com.
Prashant Modi - President & COO
Mr. Prashant joined the YK Modi Group in 1996 and was involved with the restructuring of a group company operating a significant tea estate business and its subsequent sale to Unilever. Prior to this he held positions at Qualcomm. Inc. in San Diego, USA and ANZ Investment Bank in London. He holds a degree from Boston University in Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. His concentration was in finance with a minor in economics. He has also completed an executive education program at Harvard Business School. He is responsible for the day to day affairs of the Great Eastern Energy Corporation Limited. Read more about Prashant Modi on http://www.prashantmodi.com
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