All CNG vehicle owners in Karnataka will now be required to carry out periodic mandatory safety tests on the cylinders in their vehicles, a circular issued by the transport department states.
The circular issued on January 9th, 2023, is in line with national guidelines for CNG vehicles, which mandate "hydrostatic stretch" tests once in three years throughout the life of the cylinder which is 20 years.
Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL), the largest CNG supplier in the state, estimates that there are 52,000 CNG vehicles in Karnataka, of which 48% or around 25,000 are in Bengaluru. The data includes vehicles fitted with CNG cylinders in the aftermarket and those supplied by GAIL.
The government has authorised a Bengaluru-based firm MGR Hydrotest Inc to conduct these tests, while two others will soon get authorisation to carry out these tests. MGR Hydrotest has relevant certifications from PESO (Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation).
Gyanchand Bantia, managing partner, MGR Hydrotest, said: "As per the Centre's Gas Cylinder Rules 2016, it is mandatory to conduct hydrostaticstretch test of cylinders once every three years till the life of cylinder (20 years) as per BIS standards 154975 and BIS 8481. While the transport department has issued a circular about this, awareness needs to be spread on the issue. "
Bantia said that as conversion and new registrations of CNG vehicles increases, safety concerns need to be addressed. "CNG has a very high pressure of 200 bars, which is 10 times higher than LPG. Since the pressure is greater, a CNG cylinder is made from a very thick gauge (8 mm to 10 mm) and is seamless," he said.
The state government circular, sent to all RTO offices and joint commissioners of transport besides other stakeholders, states that it is mandatory for all CNG vehicles which have completed three years, to present this safetytest certificate at the time of fitness test, along with other documents.
"Once the tests are completed, this certificate is issued by a plant approved by PESO and is done online. PESO website is integrated with the Vahan website of the transport department and these certificates will reflect there too," Bantia said.
He said that at present Karnataka has more than 100 CNG stations although about 55 are in Bengaluru alone.
"We are now spreading awareness at RTOs and are in touch with GAIL to put up compliance boards at stations so vehicle owners can be informed about the tests and plan them in the future. This is important because these tests will be needed even in case of accidents to claim insurance," he said.