MVD seeks joint teams to check use of adulterated fuel in vehicles

Close on the heels of cases being registered against buses and goods carriers that were transporting or found using adulterated fuel in Palakkad and Kozhikode, the Motor Vehicles Department (MVD) has sought the constitution of teams in all districts to do random checking on vehicles.

Such a concerted clampdown on what is being seen as increasing reliance on adulterants owing to exorbitant pricing of diesel and petrol is the need of the hour. Solvents like benzene and naphta, which are carcinogenic, are often used as adulterants in fuel, said a senior official with an oil company who was associated with random checks on fuel outlets in the State.

“Kerosene and paraffin wax were used as adulterants till a few years ago. There are organised gangs who lace fossil fuels with different solvents in such a proportion that they attain the same density as petrol or diesel in their pure form. Similar solvents that were imported too were found to be used to adulterate fuel, despite their adverse fallout on public health and safety and life of vehicles,” he added.

To keep track of vehicles that operate on adulterated fuel, MVD personnel have sought the constitution of teams comprising officials from the department, police, Pollution Control Board, Legal Metrology Department, and oil companies. Regional Transport Officer (Enforcement, Ernakulam) G. Ananthakrishnan had recently written to the Additional District Magistrate (ADM) seeking the formation of such a team for joint inspections.

Minimal fine

“It is crucial to maintain vigil in Ernakulam, since many such widely misused compounds or solutions are manufactured in bulk in the district, primarily for industrial use. Joint inspections are all the more important, since MVD personnel are empowered to collect a maximum fine of just ₹250 for operating a vehicle using adulterated fuel. The offence is compoundable with such minimum fine, as per the Motor Vehicles Act. But police officers in the rank of DySP or above can register a case and forward it to the court, as per provisions of the Essential Commodities Act. It will help if personnel of agencies who have technical expertise join in the random inspections,” the officer said.

Private buses

On diesel samples collected from three private buses in Palakkad a month ago, Jayesh Kumar M.K., Enforcement RTO (Palakkad), said the buses were owned by different people. “Their fuel samples were collected on the basis of tip-offs. The police have registered a case, and the samples were sent for testing. The owners could be charged under non-bailable provisions of the Essential Commodities Act, if the test results are positive for adulterants,” he added.

A senior official with an oil company said reliance on adulterated fuels was a dangerous trend. “Our squads, who collect samples from retail outlets, are willing to extend help to the district administrations to bring an end to the practise. On its part, the State Government must make optimal use of the mobile sample-testing lab that oil companies handed over to it, to maintain vigil against unscrupulous operators,” he said.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2022 7:09:59 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/mvd-seeks-joint-teams-to-check-use-of-adulterated-fuel-in-vehicles/article37605571.ece

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