|Union petroleum minister Moily launching a fuel conservation drive|
NEXT Wednesday, you may spot ONGC chairman Sudhir Vasudeva or OIL chairman SK Srivastava taking a DTC bus in a busy Delhi road. In fact, union minister for petroleum and natural gas M Veerappa Moily has urged all the chief ministers, major PSU heads and heads of different central ministries to declare one day of the week as ‘bus day’ during which all may be encouraged to utilize only public transport for their daily commute. The minister said this in a bid to ensure fuel efficiency as most of the ministers and other PSU heads use...vehicles that are major guzzlers of fuel. Moily said this while launching the Mega Petroleum Conservation Campaign at a National Workshop on Fuel conservation in Transport Sector in New Delhi on Tuesday. A circular is also being issued for asking officers in his ministry as well as 14 public sector firms under the ministry like ONGC and IOC to take public transport on every Wednesday. Earlier the minister had said he will travel by public transport every Wednesday, starting October 9, as part of the fuel conservation drive. “As part of it, I will either take metro or a bus to work every Wednesday starting from October 9,” the minister reportedly said.
Following a record current account deficit (CAD) that is a result of growing oil import bill, Moily hopes these measures will help reduce demand, thereby cutting oil import bill by $5 billion. India’s oil import bill amounted to $144.29 billion last fiscal, which is the single biggest item impacting the CAD, the difference between the inflows and outgo of foreign exchange. The minister elaborated various activities planned during the next six-week long Mega Petroleum Conservation Campaign.
Dr Moily stated that Petroleum Conservation Research Association (PCRA) along with oil PSUs has been given targets of specific activities which would disseminate awareness among the consumers. The objective will be to sensitize the people about adoption of simple but effective conservation tips in our daily life which can lead to saving of petroleum products. “I have also written to state governments and other partner ministries to co-operate with my officials in this event,” he said.
Moily re-iterated that he has personally taken up with the union power minister, road, transport & highways minister, urban development minister and agriculture minister to support this mega campaign through their activities. “I have requested the urban development minister to introduce “Free Cycle Scheme” in select cities for saving fuel and offered funding support from our oil sector companies. I have written to MoS for personnel, public grievances and pensions, asking him to consider ‘staggered office timings’ for government offices, which will help in decongesting road traffic during peak hours. The minister further said that the increase in oil consumption by the road transport sector over the past few decades has been fuelled primarily by economic growth coupled with preference for personal vehicles (cars and SUVs), especially the bigger and more powerful ones.
In fact, a large number of countries have already set up mandatory standards for their vehicle fleet as a primary step towards fuel conservation. Moily stressed implementation of fuel economy standards for vehicles which will not only help in achieving substantial savings in fuel consumption but will also facilitate in deriving considerable co-benefits in terms of reduced CO2 emissions and other local pollutants. He suggested important steps in this direction which including devising separate fuel economy standards for passenger and freight vehicles; devising standards for other fuel based appliances like diesel pumps, generation sets, and boilers/furnaces.Explaining the tremendous financial burden because of huge import dependence, the minister said there exists considerable potential to save diesel and petrol in transport sector by adopting simple but effective conservation measures. These include – good driving practices, better maintenance regime, fuel saving tips like switching off engines at traffic signals, joining car pool, usage of public transport etc. “In order to reduce the consumption further, an inclusive approach, combining strategies to increase fuel economy in all types of vehicles while providing desired service is necessary. The expanding use of low-carbon fuels, including biofuels, as well as electricity and hydrogen are also feasible alternative,” he added.