Safety of passengers travelling in auto-rickshaws and taxis has surfaced as a major concern, a day after a CNG cylinder blew up while an auto was getting a refill done at a CNG pump. The tank fitters and auto unions claim that the drivers go to roadside mechanics to get their CNG tanks inspected for routine checks. And that the government is sitting on the idea of fitting QR codes on CNG tanks that can give correct data about rickshaws and also prevents drivers from going to cheaper options of getting tanks inspected.
According to CNG tank fitters and testing agencies, there are roadside mechanics who charge barely Rs 300-500 for inspection. "The drivers usually go to these repairers to get their CNG tanks checked. An original testing agency like ours charge Rs 1,200-1,400 depending on the vehicle," said a CNG tank testing agency owner on the condition of anonymity.
The testing agencies and auto unions want the state Transport department to test the auto rickshaw and CNG tank installed in it for its past records. On October 20, an auto rickshw that was filling CNG, exploded at a pump station in Malad.
"The RTO need to investigate about the quality of CNG tank. If any defect is found then they need to recall them from rickshaws in which this particular make has been fitted. We are presently awaiting for the report on the incident," said Thampi Kurien, auto union leader.
The tagging of CNG cylinders in rickshaws and taxis with QR codes/ RFID will ensure safety and keep a vehicle on check. However sources said that the state Transport department have still not approved it.
The auto rickshaws, taxis and every other vehicle using CNG as fuel has to inspect the CNG tanks once in 3 years. There are metal plates fitted in these vehicles mentions the vehicle number, its make, tank testing agency, date of testing and its next due date. There are around 20 private agencies that has been asked to inspect CNG tanks once in three years wherein huge pressure of water is gushed inside the tank to check for leakages and other issues. However the drivers, in a bid to circumvent this, not only get fake metal plates but also do not check the CNG tanks.