The Centre has decided to switch over from diesel to relatively less polluting Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) as a fuel for vessels in the inland navigation system. The proposed new fleet of 80 vessels in Ganga is likely to be the first beneficiary of the move.
The idea is to reduce carbon emission with no additional operational cost as LNG has the potential to bring in savings to the tune of nearly 25% in comparison to diesel.
“Unlike crude oil, LNG spills do not require any remediation of soil, ground water or surface water because it evaporates immediately and dissipates quickly into the atmosphere,“ said an official of the Inland Waterways Authority of India, while talking about the decision which has got a nod from the shipping ministry .
Shipping minister Nitin Gadkari had recently said, “We will use LNG as a fuel for the next generation of vessels in the inland waterways. We want clean and affordable fuel for both protecting the environment and bringing down the cost of transportation.“
It is learnt that LNG will be first used in a big way in the Allahabad-Haldia stretch of Ganga-Bhagirathi-Hoogly river system.
Under the switchover plan, three distribution hubs Varanasi, Sahebganj and Haldia will be created. It will supply LNG to transportation (marine, railways and long haul trucking), industries and mining sectors.
Since the Centre cannot invest to develop waterways until it’s declared as national waterway , the shipping min istry had moved a bill to get umbrella clearance for another 106 waterways.
The bill was passed by the Lok Sabha in the recently concluded winter session.