CNG replaces diesel as fuel on boats in Varanasi
Noisy and polluting boats on the Ganga river are now plying on environment-friendly CNG as part of a plan to cut noise and air pollution on the holy river. As many as 583 boats already have CNG engines and plans are afoot to replace the entire fleet of boats operating on banks of the holy city of Varanasi with environment-friendly fuel, Oil Minister Hardeep Puri said on Sunday. These boats are being supplied CNG from India’s first floating CNG station built by GAIL at Namo Ghat. ”In July last year Prime Minister had desired that boats on holy Ganga should be run on CNG. Against the target of 500 boats, 583 have already switched to CNG and we are working to get 2,000 boats to convert,” he said. To promote the fuel, a race of CNG-run boats was organised on banks of this holy city. Compared to diesel-fuelled boat engines, CNG engines produce less pollution and do not emit harmful gases like sulphur dioxide. CNG engines are also much quieter, thereby minimising the adverse effects the loud noise of diesel engines has on aquatic life as well as the historical heritages situated along the ghats. In comparison to diesel, CNG is less flammable, so it is likely to reduce the risk of boat disasters. ”For us, it is extremely important step,” Puri said. ”Varanasi is among the oldest cities in the world where tradition mixes with modernity.” Puri said switching to CNG not just cuts down on pollution but also helps save Rs 25,000 to Rs 30,000 per annum for boatmen. GAIL will install additional floating filling stations at other ghats in Varanasi as and when demand grows, he added. The conversion of boats to CNG was carried out under GAIL’s corporate social responsibility initiative in association with Varanasi Nagar Nigam (VNN). The floating filling station doubles as a tourist attraction, from where passengers can take the river route in eco-friendly boats powered by CNG to the Kashi Vishwanath Corridor, a recent temple access initiative.
The project also includes two passenger jetties made from robust high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and a floating bridge at the Varanasi Khidkiya Ghat river access point.
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