SRINAGAR: Pollution levels in Srinagar have crossed the limit that qualifies the city for Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) filling stations.
LPG stations for the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir were proposed five years ago, but they were not put in place because the pollution levels did not rise above a certain point.
Minister Chowdhary Zulfkar Ali told Kashmir Reader that the Government of India (GoI) has set a pollution level for the installation of LPG centres, for which the city did not qualify earlier.
“Now, the pollution of the city has crossed the set level. I am pursuing the matter with the Government of India and I am hopeful that there will soon be some headway,” Choudhary said.
The idea of setting up filling stations for LPG, an economical and environment-friendly fuel, was mooted in 2007 by the GoI Petroleum Ministry to prevent the state’s mountain air from getting polluted.
One station was proposed in 2013 at Bypass Srinagar, another at Jammu. In the five years since, Jammu has received two CNG (compressed natural gas) stations but Srinagar has had none.
“LPG is by and large an environment-friendly fuel. It could be one of the main sources for preventing the air from getting polluted. I am trying my level best to get it for Srinagar,” Chowdhary said.
At present, there are nearly two lakh cars in Kashmir Valley which use LPG as a fuel, but there are no authorised LPG filling stations. Owners of these cars have adopted a technique to refill using cooking LPG cylinders, or they do so at unauthorised centres.
Last February, the J&K High Court sought a reply by the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) on the delay in setting up an auto LPG dispensing station (ALDS) in Kashmir Valley after Advocate Anil Ban told the court that the ALDS was to be commissioned in April 2016, subject to permission being granted by the authorities.
A top official from the IOC, which was given the job of installing the filling station, told Kashmir Reader that they were awaiting a no objection certificate (NOC) from the Deputy Commissioner Srinagar’s office.
“Once we get it, the rest of the formalities will be done,” he said.
Choudhary, however, said there is no NOC pending with the government.
Until the matter is cleared, LPG-fitted vehicle owners will have to wait for a filling station.