Guwahati, Friday, February 15, 2019
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CNG pill to improve air quality
City Correspondent

 GUWAHATI, Feb 14 - With an aim to reduce pollution caused by auto-emission, the Assam State Transport Corporation (ASTC) will introduce compressed natural gas (CNG) in the State.

ASTC Chairman Ashok Kumar Bhattarai today informed that the State-owned road transport corporation in collaboration with the Assam Gas Company will soon launch the first-ever CNG fuel station at Dibrugarh.

“We will cover the whole State with CNG fuel stations in a phased manner. Along with setting up those fuel stations, we will also install a CNG engine in all ASTC buses. It will be a long-term process,” Bhattarai said.

According to the ASTC Chairman, this initiative will reduce both fuel cost and air pollution level, and would be a profit-making approach for the ASTC, which has been facing losses for many years.

To increase the rate of revenue, the ASTC in collaboration with Indian Oil Corporation Limited, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited will set up 17 petrol pumps in various locations of the State within this year. Moreover, the ASTC will also introduce 100 oil tankers in the State, Bhattarai stated.

Meanwhile, the ASTC in collaboration with Reliance Jio will set up mobile towers in 36 bus stations in the State for the convenience of passengers and other public. In another profit-making initiative, the Corporation will start transport plaza under private-public partnership mode in the State, wherein altogether four such plazas will be opened at Dibrugarh, Boko, Silchar and Dalgaon each soon and in the second phase, another two plazas will come up at Rangia and Sivsagar.

“We are going to introduce 1,000 new buses under the ASTC. In the first phase, altogether 500 buses will be added, and for which, Rs 50 crore has been allotted by the State government. Under the initiative, anyone can buy a new bus with 25 per cent financial assistance from our side. To avail the benefit of the scheme, one beneficiary has to run his or her bus under the ASTC for at least five years and then one could withdraw the bus from the Corporation by paying 15 per cent of the total subsidised amount. Moreover, the State government also allotted Rs 20 crore to develop bus terminus in Assam. Under the project, we will introduce proper sitting facility, baby feeding room, washroom, etc., in a bus terminus,” said Bhattarai.

On the other hand, ASTC Managing Director Anand Prakash Tiwari stated that it will earn monthly revenue of around Rs 8.5 crore in the current financial year.

“We are trying to decrease the expenditure and increase the income of the loss-making Corporation. Earlier, the State government paid around Rs 3.5 crore every month for payment of employees' salary. Now, due to various initiatives taken by us, we have managed to decrease the government expenditure to around Rs 1 crore. Hope by next financial year, the ASTC will not be at loss,” Tiwari said.

Tiwari further stated that the ASTC will introduce 15 electric buses in Guwahati by the next month.

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