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Fill up the gas!

As the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority pushes for a ban on non-CNG vehicles, Patriot imagines what the city will be like if the ban is imposed

They’re not a fashion accessory, obviously – pollution masks on faces out on the streets. They’re a layer of protection against the monster we all know now as PM 2.5 (the level of the most dangerous micro particles).

You try blaming it on the farmers for burnings their crops, or the vehicular population which is 1.2 crore, or your neighbours for bursting crackers. But there has to be some way to save our lungs and our children’s in a proactive manner.

On Wednesday, the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority, or EPCA, recommended that all non-CNG vehicles — including private cars and two-wheelers be barred from coming on the roads of Delhi if pollution levels go severe again.

Does this scare you? Even more than the pollution? How will Delhiwalahs feel without petrol/diesel cars not being driven on the roads? Your favourite bike/car off the road because it runs of petrol or diesel. Can’t imagine? Let’s try to…

Time to shop
Who said you can only boast about Italian leather handbags or shoes? Now you can boast about Italian CNG kits as well. Yes, you heard it right.

The Tomasetto Achille is an Italian Sequential CNG kit which is often touted as the number 1 Sequential CNG kit in India. Will it become a gossip point in kitty parties of South Delhi? Or the subject of a serious dinner table discussion? It may, the variety is huge, the category is enormous, and so what if you couldn’t buy the Italian leather upholstery for your sedan, now you can buy something which has the word “Italian” in it.

Very few pumps
It was way back in 2001 that the Delhi government converted all public transport vehicles — buses, taxis and auto-auto-rickshaws — to CNG, but even after 17 years, when there are four lakh private vehicles running on CNG, Delhi only has 400 CNG filling pumps. The total population is about 10 lakh.

What does this mean for you if the ban is imposed? Well, imagine all the CNG stations across Delhi as Zara stores and there’s a 50% off. Everyone needs to be there, and everyone needs to be first in the line.

Given how much Delhiwalahs love using jugaad, it will be a gross underestimation if they don’t start forming their own lines at the station, or try taking shortcuts of 4-5 metres, so that they can wait five minutes less than the other car? Yes, there’s a high possibility of that happening.

New addas
As it’s not safe to stay inside the car while the refilling of CNG gas is underway, at every station, there’s a warning which tells the people to get out of their cars.

Which means, now around every car, conversations or political debates will be going on, but while you do this, make sure you stay behind the car, as there have been cases of explosions at many CNG stations across the country.

Over the course of these years, we have come across news reports which tells us that CNG cars are more prone to explosion than other kinds.
This year a 56-year-old man in Gurugram lost his life when his CNG car caught fire, the two other colleagues got out of the car in time and saved themselves.

The reason of the death is said to be a poorly fitted CNG kit. Now while you go buy that Italian kit, make sure that is ISO 9001 certified and install it from an ISO certified dealer.

What if your newly converted CNG car catches fire? You better be fit to run as fast as Usain Bolt or seek an escape as quickly as Jerry from Tom & Jerry.

Crowd scenes
If the ban is imposed, it will also lead to public outcry on the state of public transportation in the city. With just 5,443 buses plying on routes across the city, if the non-CNG cars are banned, buses will be the last option commuters will take. Not to forget, that at some station one has to wait for at least half an hour before getting into that red air-conditioned bus of DTC.

Metro is already infamous for being crowded most of the times, Rajiv Chowk station is a memeable thing, with huge lines forming before a train comes. How the situation will be if you can’t go to Connaught Place by your car?

Smooth drives
Imagine all the petrol/diesel vehicles are shooed away from the roads of Delhi. With 1,749 km of road length per 100 sq km, Delhi has one of the highest road densities in India. If the ban is imposed, that will clear about 90 lakh vehicles off the roads.

Now your ride to India Gate from Africa Avenue can be peaceful. You won’t see those fancy Jaguar cars on the roads of Lutyens zone, which used to create a lot of emission off their 3000 cc petrol engine.

That means you can finally pull the windows down on your newly converted/bought CNG car and feel the breeze as you pass by Prithviraj Road.

Save time
Do you know at peak hours the standard wait time is half an hour at the CNG stations? What does this mean for you? It will be no surprise if drive-through restaurants open up, so that your patience is not tested, while you have a Mc AlooTikki or a whopper burger in your car.

One more perk for you, when your boss calls you next time, you will have another excuse — “Sir, there’s a huge waiting at the station, I will be late by an hour. Because why not?

To make your experience better, a 20-minute episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine can also work wonders to keep your patience intact.

More savings
With only Rs 40.61 per kg, driving a CNG car can be the saving grace for your pocke. It is said that running cost of a vehicle on CNG is almost 40-50% cheaper as compared to petrol and diesel.

Imagine this, you’ll be saving a lot on travel expenses, maybe now you can buy that bag you saw, those shoes at Steve Madden, or that Rado watch which Delhiwalahs swear by.

But don’t forget to buy a new pollution mask, everything doesn’t settle in a snap, right?

Plan and execute
Now that the city is running on CNG, by now you have got yourself a new company-fitted CNG car by good ol’ Maruti (which gives seven options in CNG models). The struggle doesn’t end here, if you’re planning to go to a nearby city for the weekend, or to the hills, say Dehradun.

There’s a high chance that you may get frustrated there, because all this while you were enjoying the savings on CNG and by now you were used to having your lunch or dinner in the car. But now you discover that outside Delhi-NCR, there are very few CNG stations. So you drive back to the paradise that Delhi has now become