By: Nazia Jafri, Neha Sethi and Sheeba Naaz

Mohammad Salamuddin, a taxi driver who drives an Omni car, which runs on CNG says he is saving a lot of money on fuel now। “CNG is a lot better than petrol। It costs me around Rs 200 to drive around Delhi from morning till evening,” he says.

But talk to him about the latest Wagon R accident where the car, which was fitted with CNG, went up in flames and he has his own explanation. “The car went up in flames because of impact of collision, and not because of CNG. And moreover, I got the CNG kit fitted from the company itself, so it’s safe.”

Salamuddin is one of the few who know that it is important to get a CNG kit fitted in car from an authorised centre. Manjot Singh, a technician with Texla Gas Engineers, an authorised centre in Guru Nanak Nagar says most of the people running their cars on CNG face a problem because they don’t get their kits fitted from authorised centres approved by the government. “The government has around 110 authorised centres in Delhi, which have their special RFC codes. The customers should go only to these centres to get their kits fitted.” he adds.

Seeing the recent rush for CNG in cars, many companies like Hyundai have started having pre-fitted CNG kits in some of their models. Dr S K Sharma, Executive Director, Deep Hyundai, Mangolpuri, says, “We have an option of CNG in our Santro and Accent cars. It costs around Rs 60,000 more to buy a car fitted with CNG. But even if a customer is getting CNG kit fitted after buying the car from the showroom, they should make sure that the centre gives you a cash memo. You can then attach the cash memo to your car’s RC and send it to the Transport Authority. Then, a new RC is made, which makes your CNG usage legal.”

Then there are other companies like Maruti Suzuki who have come out with dual mechanism cars, which can run on petrol as well as LPG. V B Mittal, General Manager, Marketing Times, Maruti Suzuki says, “LPG is safer than CNG. The LPG cars that we sell have sensors. As soon as the sensor feels that the car is headed for a collision, the LPG connection is automatically cut off from the car to prevent any untoward incident.”

But the technicians say that LPG and CNG leak may not be the only problem because of which cars catch fire. “The other wire connections of the car might also be responsible for electrical shot circuits. If the wiring of the stereo system is loose or not proper, then it can also be dangerous.” says Manjot.