KSRTC drops move to convert diesel buses into LNG mode; to purchase more e-vehicles

Thiruvananthapuram: The KSRTC has abandoned the move to convert 400 diesel buses into LNG buses, using KIIFB funds. The amount of Rs 100 crore allotted by the KIIFB for the purpose will be now diverted for purchasing 93 electric buses.

The earlier decision was taken when the LNG price was Rs 43 for one kilo. But, now the LNG cost has skyrocketed to Rs110-170 per kilo. This has forced the KSRTC to go in for a rethink. The invitation for the bid for conversion of diesel buses into LNG mode has been cancelled.

The total cost estimated for conversion of a diesel bus into LNG mode and maintenance of it for seven year was Rs 12 lakh. But now with the increase in the price of LNG, it won't be able to finish the work in the above said amount.

Moreover, the Petronet LNG Limited made it clear the other day that even for the KSRTC, the LNG would be sold by the company at the present higher price. This has sealed the fate of the project.

The KIIFB had earlier sanctioned Rs 359 crore for purchasing 310 CNG buses and 50 electric buses, apart from converting diesel buses into LNG mode. Of this, Rs 100 crore had been kept apart by the KSRTC solely for the conversion process.

The central government's plan is to convert 36 lakh heavy vehicles into the LNG mode by 2030. But the hefty hike in the price of LNG will be a major stumbling block in the way of the central government in realising the dream.

There is also a feeling among a section of experts that the introduction of CNG buses might also cause a crisis for the KSRTC in the future. They point out that the price of CNG was Rs 54 when the KSRTC decided to purchase 310 CNG buses while its price has now touched Rs 82-Rs100 range.

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