The Delhi government Monday said it would not register diesel cabs retrofitted with CNG kits because there is no legally approved technology available for this in the market at present, according to an official.
“If diesel cab owners do somehow manage to fit a CNG kit in their car, we will not register the vehicle,” said Jaspal Singh, Motor Licensing Officer, Burari.
As per the Motor Vehicles Act, Section 53, “No owner of a motor vehicle shall so alter the vehicle that the particulars contained in the certificate of registration are at variance with those originally specified by the manufacturer. Provided that where the owner of a motor vehicle makes modification of the engine… by different type of fuel by fitment of a conversion kit… provided further that the Central Government may prescribe specifications, conditions for approval, retrofitment and other related matters for such conversion kits…”.
The Burari RTO, where all commercial vehicles are registered in the capital, has been flooded with registration certificates and clearance certificates of CNG-run cabs and commercial vehicles in the last couple of months. “All radio taxis and cabs registrations we are receiving are CNG category. Till a few days ago, we received some for diesel and petrol vehicles, but today, the first working day after the Supreme Court ban, we received none,” said an official.
Bi-fuel vehicles or dual-fuel technology, whereby vehicles run on two fuels or either of two fuels, mostly in a combination of diesel and CNG, or diesel and LPG and CNG have taken root in European and South American countries. The two fuels are stored in separate tanks and the engine runs on one fuel at a time or, in some models, it runs on a fusion of both fuels. Most of these are for heavy vehicles, though Brazil and Argentina have cabs running on dual-fuel technology. This technology is not available in India.
Retrofitment centres claim they can change diesel-powered engines to CNG ones. This will apparently cost over Rs 1 lakh. But officials at Burari RTO said a diesel vehicle’s original registration records will be a giveaway.
Diesel cab owners in Delhi are hoping the government will notify some technology. After a 1998 Supreme Court order directed all buses to convert to CNG, diesel Blueline buses and a few diesel DTC buses went in for conversion.
“We are hoping there is some new kit suitable for diesel cabs soon, or else, I will have to sell my Rs 12 lakh Innova for Rs 2 lakh. If I lose so much money, I will kill myself,” said Rajender Kumar, a cab driver seated outside Burari RTO.