Ticking bombs: Lakhs of vehicles plying with expired CNG, LPG kits
Hyderabad: Expired kits of compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) installed in vehicles plying across the city are ticking time bombs.
After filing representations to State Human Rights Commission, the departments of transport and civil supplies, the gas testing agencies and auto unions stated that a staggering 1,50,000 vehicles running in Greater Hyderabad region are operating without CNG and LPG cylinder integrity checks. They said this is in gross violation of Gas Cylinder Rules, 2004 and Petroleum Act, 2004.
“Lack of maintenance and re-checks of these cylinders are putting people at serious risk of death or injury. The expired cylinders can explode anytime,” said M Dayanand, general secretary, Telangana Auto and Motor Vehicle Association.
While CNG tanks in auto rickshaws, taxis and every other vehicle have to be examined and tested once every three years, LPG tanks in vehicles must be inspected once in five years as per Rule 35(1) of Gas Cylinder Rules, 2004.
After the auto unions filed a representation to chief controller of explosives of Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation in 2015 and State Human Rights Commission in the 2016, both the organisations appealed to the transport department to not issue fitness certificates to the vehicles until they are checked at testing centres, and get a certificate of approval.
However, despite the appeals, the Regional Transport Authority seems to be violating the norms to a large extent. Most auto drivers in the city whom TOI spoke to said they are not aware of the mandatory testing and the importance of getting it done periodically. M Yadgiri, an auto driver who ferries schoolchildren, said, “Mine is a CNG vehicle. I bought it from a friend six years ago, and I am not aware of this test. I just get my auto repaired from a local mechanic if there is any problem.”
Another auto driver, Sai Kumar, said, “I got a fitness certificate from the RTA department recently. They did not ask me for any testing certificate. I don’t think it is mandatory.”
Dayanand said, “Not even a single auto in Greater Hyderabad region has a testing certificate. We will soon file a criminal case if the authorities concerned do not implement the orders.” When this issue was posed to the officials of RTO department, they said they are following all norms. “We do check cylinder numbers during fitness checks. There may be a few misses, but we also check if re-testing is done. We follow the norms, but I cannot tell the exact figure of how many did not get the re-testing done,” said C Ramesh, joint transport commissioner.