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Taxi rides may cost you more

The Centre’s decision to double the price of natural gas produced by state-controlled suppliers will eventually be passed on to you.

mumbai Updated: May 21, 2010 01:16 IST

The Centre’s decision to double the price of natural gas produced by state-controlled suppliers will eventually be passed on to you.

With the hike in the price of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), your autorickshaw or taxi commute may become expensive as the city’s 1.94 lakh autorickshaw and taxi drivers may demand a fare tariff hike.

And the hike in the price of Piped Natural Gas (PNG) will affect people’s household budget.

On Wednesday, the Cabinet increased the price of gas from $1.79 (Rs 80) per unit to $4.20 (Rs 189) per unit.

“We are yet to receive the official details of the hike that has been sanctioned. Once we get that, we will be in a better position to take a call on the exact percentage of hike in the rates,” said Neera Asthana, spokesperson of Mahanagar Gas Limited (MGL), the sole supplier of CNG and PNG in Mumbai.

CNG currently costs Rs 24.65 per kg and PNG costs Rs 13.7 per standard cubic metre in Mumbai.

While CNG is expected to cost Rs 3 to 3.50 more per kg, PNG price may be increased by Rs 6 per standard cubic metre.

But public transport operators are still unsure if they will increase fares. Most of the public transport in Mumbai, including the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) undertaking buses, 55,000 taxis and 1.5 lakh autorickshaws, run on CNG.

“We have to examine the hike, we cannot say anything immediately,” BEST’s general manager Uttam Khobragade said.

Anthony Quadros, president of the Mumbai Taximen’s Union, too said it would be too early to comment.

The CNG price had remained the same for four years and PNG price was not changed for nearly seven years, until MGL decided to hike the prices of PNG and CNG by 15 per cent and 14 per cent respectively in July 2009.

MGL had then said that the price rise was forced due to the increase in gas purchase cost.

The increase in gas price could also affect electricity tariffs.

The impact, however, will not be severe as gas-based power generation is very limited in Maharashtra.

Dabhol’s Ratnagiri Gas and Power Private Ltd, which has about 2000 MW capacity, produces 1200-1600 MW of electricity daily. State company Mahavitaran buys all of Dabhol’s power.

But Dabhol too is likely to ask for a hike in price, said an energy department official, requesting anonymity for lack of authorisation to talk to the media.