Varanasi/Lucknow: When Prime Minister Narendra Modi took a cruise on the Ganges in Kashi on the last Dev Deepawali, he had taken a vow to rid the Ganges from the toxic smoke and noise of diesel-powered boats. With the reins of Uttar Pradesh in the hands of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, work on this ambitious project was hence just a matter of time and took off immediately.
The state government has taken up a target to run about 500 CNG motorboats in the Ganges till Dev Deepawali on November 19. In the coming time, there is a plan to run 100 per cent boats in Ganga on CNG. With this, the holy Mokshadayini Ganga will be the first river in the world, where CNG based boats will run on such a large scale.
Tourists visit the religious city of Kashi, do boating in the Ganges, see the buildings, temple-monasteries standing for centuries on the banks of the crescent-shaped ghats. Now the tourists coming here are going to get freedom from the poisonous smoke and loud sound of the boat while enjoying boat rides in the Ganges.
A plan for a floating CNG station in Ganga is also on the anvil. With this, CNG can also be filled in the middle of the Ganges during boating. Smart City GM, D Vasudevam told that about 1700 small and big boats ply in the Ganges. Of these, about 500 boats are going to run on diesel engines.
About 177 boats have been fitted with CNG engines. The target is to run the remaining motorboats with CNG engines till Dev Deepawali. This work is being done by GAIL India under Corporate Social Responsibility. CNG engines are being installed in 1700 small and big boats with a budget of about 29 crores.
In this, about 1.5 lakh is being spent on a small boat, while the cost of a big boat and barge is about 2.5 lakh. A free CNG kit is being installed in the boats of the sailors. Suman Kumar Rai, Project Manager of Smart City said that the diesel engine will be withdrawn from the boat which will have CNG based engine.
There is a ‘daughter station’ at the ghat itself. The dispenser has also been installed on the jetty. Sailors say that they are covering twice the distance with a CNG engine at half the cost. Tourists are also feeling good due to no smoke and loud noise.
CNG will also reduce pollution
The CNG-based engine reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 7 to 11 per cent compared to diesel and petrol engines, while the pollution is also reduced due to the absence of gases like sulfur dioxide. When a boat is operated with a diesel engine, toxic fumes are released which is very harmful to the people living nearby, whereas this is not the case with CNG.
The loud sound of the diesel engine vibrates, which has a bad effect on humans as well as aquatic animals and also corrodes and scars the ecosystem. Along with this, the historical heritage standing on the banks of the Ghat for thousands of years was also getting damaged. CNG is less flammable than diesel, so the risk of disasters from boats powered by it will also be reduced.