Launching prepaid cards to fill CNG for fleet and retail customers in the National Capital Region (NCR), Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Wednesday said if the Delhi government permitted thermal power plants to switch to gas, the capital's citizens would benefit from both cheaper power and less pollution.
"If the Delhi government runs the Bawana gas-fired plant, residents of the capital would not only get cheaper power but also much less pollution," Pradhan said, referring to Delhi's status as one of the majorly polluted cities of the world.
"A single thermal plant in Delhi generates as much pollution as all vehicles put together in a full year," he said.
"All gas is cheaper than petrol and diesel...between 30 to 50 per cent cheaper," he added.
The 1,500 MW liquefied natural gas (LNG)-fired Bawana power plant has been operating at less than a fifth of its capacity for nearly 5 years.
Last year, Pradhan had offered to supply natural gas to the Bawana plant at a price of $7.5-$8 per million British thermal unit (mbtu), which will help generate power at less than Rs 5-6 per unit.
He had said that switching off the Badarpur thermal plant for one year can cut emissions that will be equivalent to the benefit from the odd-even rule for vehicles after it is put in place for 18 years.
Delhi was the world's most polluted city measured by airborne particulate matter PM2.5, with an annual average of 153 micrograms per cubic meter, as per a 2014 World Health Organisation database.
Pradhan also said that his ministry has planned a massive public campaign along with civil society and industry associations during November-December to sensitise about increasing the use of gas in Delhi.
The state-run Indraprastha Gas Ltd (IGL) smart card launched by Pradhan here is a prepaid card that fleet and retail CNG customers can use for payment at IGL gas stations located in Delhi, Noida, Greater Noida and Ghaziabad.
"This is the first time that a prepaid card programme is being started in the city gas distribution sector in the country," IGL said in a statement here.
"Ola cabs would be taking 5,000 smart cards for its fleet operating in the city," it added.