Second CNG station for boats in Varanasi

Second CNG station for boats in Varanasi

In a significant step towards a pollution free Varanasi, the city’s second floating Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Mobile Refueling Unit (MRU) station at Ravidas Ghat was inaugurated today by Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas & Housing and Urban Affairs Shri Hardeep Singh Puri. This is the country’s second such station built to fill CNG in boats, after the Namo Ghat CNG station here. 


Both the stations have been developed by GAIL (India) Limited, a Maharatna PSU under the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas. GAIL Chairman & Managing Director Shri Sandeep Kumar Gupta, Director (Human Resources) Shri Ayush Gupta, Director (Marketing) Shri Sanjay Kumar and a host of dignitaries were present on the occasion.


With this, floating CNG stations for boats are now operational on both sides of the main Ghats of Varanasi. The floating stations have been developed by GAIL at a cost of approx. Rs 17.5 crore.


In a world grappling with environmental challenges and the urgent need to transition to cleaner, more sustainable energy sources, the inauguration of the second floating infrastructure in Varanasi is a significant step towards viable sustainable energy solutions, Shri Puri said.


“The decision to set-up this floating CNG station is a testament to our belief in the transformative power of clean energy,” the Minister said.


Speaking about the significance of CNG station at Ravidas Ghat, Shri Puri noted that this will provide great convenience to boatmen as they will not have to go all the way to NaMo Ghat for refueling, thus saving time and money. “On an average, it is estimated that each boatman can potentially save over  Rs.36,000 per year by using CNG as fuel”, said the Minister.


For many years, the boatmen at Varanasi Ghats have been using old and less efficient petrol and diesel engines which are now being replaced by new CNG engines along with kits leading to improved fuel efficiency. Under its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative, GAIL has entered into an agreement with Varanasi Nagar Nigam (VNN) for conversion of boats to the environment-friendly fuel CNG.


Till date, 735 such boats out of 890 registered with VNN have been converted to CNG under GAIL’s CSR program at a cost of Rs 18 crore.


The floating CNG Mother station at Namo Ghat, the first of its kind in the world, has been operational since December 2021. The compression capacity of this station is around 15,000 kg/day of CNG which can fill approximately 1,000 – 1,500 boats per day. Boats presently plying in Varanasi have a seating capacity of 15 to 80 persons with engine power 5 to 20 HP. GAIL recently won the prestigious ‘Midstream Project of the Year – India’ award at the Asian Oil and Gas Awards event for this project.


The new station at Ravidas Ghat is a CNG Mobile Refueling Unit (MRU), i.e., CNG will be filled in cascades from Namo Ghat and transported by water ways to Ravidas Ghat for fueling boats. This is also first of its kind in the world. It has a capacity of 4,000 kg/day, which can cater to 300 to 400 boats per day.


As CNG is more efficient fuel than diesel, it leads to significant savings for the boatmen who estimate that they are getting 35-40% more mileage due to replacement of old diesel engines with efficient CNG engines (1 kg of CNG is energy equivalent to 1.39 litres of petrol and 1.18 litres of diesel). On an average, it is estimated that each boatman can save potentially Rs 36,000 year by using CNG as fuel.




Pavita Jones