Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has said that starting CNG stations for the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) is becoming “imperative”.

This March, a high-level ministerial delegation, headed by the Chief Minister, had visited Union Petroleum Minister M Veerappa Moily requesting diesel at subsidised rate for KSRTC.

The Union Minister had then assured them that the Centre would establish a `100-crore plant for the processing and storage of CNG in Kochi.

But nothing has been done by the state to get realise the project so far.

“Considering the long term scenario, shifting to the CNG mode will be necessary. But it will take time to set up CNG stations in the state. Right now, we give priority to solve the daily crisis being faced by KSRTC. We are also pressurising the Central Government to give diesel at a subsidised rate for public transportation across the country,” Oommen Chandy told ‘Express’.

He said the state government would take steps to start a CNG station in Kochi as promised by the Union Minister. Experts in the field pointed out that the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas has liberalised the process of setting up of CNG stations across the country.

“Now any entity can set up a CNG station anywhere, irrespective of whether it has city gas distribution (CGD) network or not. Till now, CGD network was a pre-condition for setting up of CNG stations which limited the opportunity,” they said.

Since Kerala is the first state in South India to have an LNG terminal, the state has an upper hand as LNG can be easily converted to CNG, said M P Sukumaran Nair, Director, Centre for Green Technology and Management.

“A CNG station can be easily started in Kalamassery or Ambalamugal as these places have natural gas pipeline connectivity. Around `50-60 crore is needed to start a CNG station. Since the Union Minister had agreed to give `100 crore for the project, now the ball is in the state government’s court,” he added.

Source: New Indian Express