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To push use of clean fuel, the government is targeting quadrupling users of piped cooking gas in the country to 1 crore and create 'green corridors' for CNG stations on crucial national highways in the next two years.
As many as 26.7 lakh households currently use gas received from pipeline in kitchen. "We are targeting 1 crore piped natural gas (PNG) connections in two years," Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said at a Bio-Fuel Conference here.
PNG will help cut down use of subsidised LPG. LPG thus freed can be used to replace kerosene and forest wood for cooking in rural and remote areas. "We are also looking at doubling the number of CNG stations in the national capital region (NCR)" to increase supply of cleaner fuel to vehicles, he said.
CNG or compressed natural gas (CNG) is an immediate replacement for polluting and costlier diesel. Delhi NCR has 325 CNG dispensing stations, the highest in the country. They cater to 7.6 lakh vehicles. There are 981 CNG stations in the country, servicing 23.29 lakh vehicles.
"We are also planning green corridor of CNG stations on important highways," he said. CNG stations will be set up on the entire road length from Delhi to Jaipur, Chandigarh, Agra and Haridwar to make available the eco-friendly fuel plying between these cities.
Similar corridor is planned between Allahabad, Kanpur, Varnasi and Lucknow as well as in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, he said. Pradhan said a roadmap to move from Euro-III/IV grade petrol and diesel to ultra low sulphur Euro-VI is being planned to cut pollution.
"All refineries will need to be upgraded to produce BS-VI (the Indian equivalent of Euro-VI fuel). We are preparing a plan," he said. He, however, did not give timelines for introduction of Euro-VI fuel. Also, the government is pushing for blending or mixing of 5 per cent ethanol in petrol to cut India's reliance on imports, he said.
"Ethanol makes up for just 3 per cent of the energy basket in India," he said adding the government has fixed a remunerative Rs 48.50 to 49.50 per litre price for ethanol manufacturers. Similarly, bio-diesel extracted from non-edible oil is being promoted. "We have a requirement of 3.5 million tonnes of bio-diesel to meet the target of 5 per cent blending in diesel but the production capacity in the country is hardly 1 million tonnes," he said.
He stressed on more research in finding indigenous solutions to producing bio-diesel from farm waste. He mentioned of some research that has been done on converting cooked oil into diesel. This, he said, would provide farmers extra money for their produce while also cutting India's 79 per cent reliance on imports for meeting oil needs.
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