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HindustanTimes Fri,22 Aug 2014

CNG unavailable: City bus extension plan stuck in pipeline

Sanjeev Bhalla, Hindustan Times  Jalandhar, July 15, 2013
First Published: 18:56 IST(15/7/2013) | Last Updated: 18:59 IST(15/7/2013)

The delay in linking the Lamba Pind compressed natural gas (CNG) dispenser with the main (trunk) pipeline by July-end could ruin the MC's plans to extend the new routes of the city bus service and make public transport eco-friendly.

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For keeping air pollution in check, the Punjab and Haryana high court had earlier directed Jalandhar Bus Transport Service to switch to CNG and allowed a dispenser to be installed at Lamba Pind on the national highway-1 here.

The project's nodal agency, Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL), and Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board are in a court battle on the issue of rights over this zone, because of which, the work to connect the pipeline has stopped.

In November 2012, when the municipal corporation (MC) allocated the job of laying the pipeline, it set 240 days for its completion. Stuck in the legal scuffle, GAIL is reported to have told the corporation that it is helpless. Without CNG, the MC's extension plan will halt.

"In a July 8 hearing, we expected positive outcome but the court put off the case for August 5 and it is likely to carry on. The city bus extension plan was almost final but now we have to look for alternatives," said municipal commissioner Vinay Bublani.
"Even if the court allows us to resume work on August 5, it will take us another three to six months to make the connection operational," said a official in GAIL.

Introduced on August 2008 on four routes, the city bus service now runs on only two routes: Jalandhar to Kartarpur, and Jalandhar bus stand to the railway station. The buses demand early replacement because of lack of upkeep.

"The bus model has technical flaws. A fibre body is one. Even the manufacturing company has closed the production of this model, so we face maintenance problem. We plan purchasing advanced buses," said Bublani. "The consultant company has suggested many several models, on which the board of directors will ponder."

The corporation also had proposed increasing the number of city bus routes to 14, to cover each corner of the city. "Feasibility study would suggest the type of buses. On many routes, we might operate mini and medium-sized buses, keeping standard-sized buses to main routes only," said municipal commissioner Bublani.

If CNG is unavailable, the corporation will seek permission from the high court for temporary operations with diesel-operated buses on the new proposed routes. In 10 days, the board of directors might meet to go over the extension plans.

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