Scripting a new chapter in the country's transport sector which moves towards clean fuel, India's first liquefied natural gas-driven bus was launched here today.
Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan jointly flagged off the first pilot run of the eco-friendly bus on the sidelines of the fourth meeting of the Group of Ministers, set up by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, here.
"Along with Hon'able CM of Kerala, flagged off India's first ever LNG fuel bus for the test run today at Thiruvanthapuram," Pradhan later tweeted.
The LNG-driven bus was rolled out as part of the Centre's plans to use LNG, considered to be a cleaner and safer fuel which emits 50 per cent less carbon, for mass transportation. It has been a joint effort of Petronet LNG Limited (PLL), Indian Oil Corporation Ltd and Tata Motors Ltd to introduce LNG as a fuel in commercial vehicles in the state capital. As it is a pilot project, the LNG-driven bus will run on a trial basis before it can be certified for commercial application.
Speaking on the occasion, Pradhan said the launch of the LNG bus heralds the start of eco-friendly long-haul commercial vehicles in the country. Applauding the Kerala government for taking the lead in adopting LNG, which is greener and more economical compared to diesel for public transportation, he said the state has an important role to play in developing the hydrocarbon sector.
The LNG pipeline was one the major topics of discussion between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pinarayi Vijayan during the latter's first New Delhi visit after taking charge as Kerala Chief Minister, the minister said.
After the meeting, the Prime Minister had asked him to coordinate things in this regard and Kerala CM had assured all help to complete laying of GAIL pipeline in Kochi-Mangaluru stretch, Pradhan said. Kerala's decision to roll out more LNG and CNG buses would contribute to realise Modi's vision of 'Climate Justice', he said.
Pointing out that Kerala had a very important role to play in developing the Hydrocarbon sector, he said besides the refinery expansion project at Kochi, two other projects- LPG import terminal at Kochi and a POL terminal at Payyannur- are also being implemented. These projects would give a boost to the petroleum sector in the state economy. There are nine terminals/ depots, seven LPG bottling plants and eight aviation fuel stations in the state to meet the growing demand of petroleum products.