Fit your car with an LPG kit and a cooking-gas cylinder by investing around Rs 7,000 and go on a long drive. But be prepared to pay a fine of Rs 10,000 or land up in jail. The use of unapproved LPG kits and cooking-gas cylinders in motor cars is illegal.
Alarmed at the rampant fittings of unapproved LPG kits in cars and use of cooking gas by some vehicle-owners in and around the city, the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) has started a probe into the illegal practice.
IOC officials have sought co-operation from the state government to track down offenders. IOC general manager Gautam Dutta has written to the consumers affairs and transport departments to look into the matter and ensure that cooking gas cylinders are not used in cars.
“Use of cooking-gas cylinders for any purpose other than cooking is illegal. If any car-owner wants to fit an LPG kit to ply a vehicle with green fuel, he has to fit only the approved LPG kit and instead of using a cylinder, a gas tanker will have to be used,’’ Dutta said on Friday.
“Not just cooking gas, the use of any kind of gas cylinder in a vehicle is illegal. Some car-owners are using LPG cylinders. The Centre provides each LPG cylinder at Rs 75 and it is meant for cooking and not for plying vehicles,” Dutta pointed out.
“Besides, plying vehicles on gas cylinders is dangerous. We want to stop it. We have sought assistance from the consumer affairs and transport departments to track down offenders,’’ he said.
According to transport department officials, over a thousand cars have been fitted with unapproved conversion kits and all these are plying on LPG cylinders. Some roadside and unregistered garages are fitting these conversion kits, which are supplied from Delhi and Bangalore.
Officials said violation of the rules would attract penalty of up to Rs 10,000 and/or imprisonment. Car-owners are switching over to LPG for saving on fuel — at least Rs 17 per litre (LPG costs Rs 21 a litre while petrol is Rs 38).
“Car-owners use the unapproved kits to save money, because an approved LPG conversion kit costs around Rs 23,000,” said J. Khara, an approved conversion kit dealer in south Calcutta.
Joint secretary in the transport department H. Mohan said the government has given approval to nearly 100 dealers to sell and retrofit LPG conversion kits. The kits have been approved by the Automotive Research Association of India, the authorised agency to approve car engines or spare parts.