Vijay C. Roy
Chandigarh, November 17
From bakery to steel making, industry in Punjab is adopting Piped Natural Gas (PNG) as fuel, replacing diesel, coal and furnace oil. Compared to other alternatives, PNG is free of contamination and does not require storage space.
According to estimates, more than 200 units, including manufacturing and commercial establishments, have already switched to PNG. Some of the major units that have already moved to PNG include Auto International, TK Steels, Bonn Nutrient (P) Ltd, SML Isuzu and Udey Krafts.
We started using PNG about 4-5 months ago. The fuel is not only environmentally friendly, but also helped improve product quality in our bakery. —Parveen Garg, CEO, Bonn Nutrient (P) ltd
“We started using PNG about 4-5 months ago. The fuel is not only eco-friendly, but also helped improve product quality in our bakery,” said Parveen Garg, CEO of Ludhiana-based Bonn Nutrient (P) Ltd.
Echoing similar sentiments, Rajan Mittal, managing director of Auto International (Kohara), said: “The surface finish of the products is better when we use PNG compared to furnace oil. We don’t need storage space for fuel. There is no need for fuel inventory management as we don’t need to monitor fuel stock and material handling. Above all, it makes the workplace better for employees.”
Ludhiana and Jalandhar are twin cities of Punjab and are major industrial and commercial hubs with very high volume potential for PNG. Despite the benefits, the adoption rate among commercial and industrial units is low. “Because of low awareness and low acceptability, people are somewhat reluctant to adopt PNG as a fuel. We are not only working to raise awareness among the industry, but also to strengthen our network,” said Hardip Rai, founder and COO of Think Gas, who has been given the mandate to establish CNG stations and a network of PNG in Ludhiana, Jalandhar. Barnala, Moga, Kapurthala and SBS Nagar in Punjab.
However, industrialists are of the view that rising PNG prices amid the Russia-Ukrainian war and PNG VAT act as a deterrent and are the main reasons behind the slow adoption.
“In the steel industry, the cost of fuel is around 33 percent of the total cost of inputs. In such a scenario, the rising price of PNG is affecting our results. This is the reason why many industries are reluctant to adopt PNG as a fuel. Second, there is a three percent VAT on PNG, which the industry cannot reclaim even as an input cost,” said Lokesh Jain, a partner at Paharuwal-based TK Steels, which switched from coal to PNG.
Some units have cited the high cost of PNG as the reason for not switching to clean energy. “Higher taxes defeat the very purpose of the government to promote environmentally friendly fuel,” the industry representatives added.