Friday, April 7, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Nod for LPG use as auto fuel

NEW DELHI, April 6 (PTI & UNI) — In a move to control pollution, the government has decided to permit use of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) as an autofuel and allow alterations in vehicles to run them on LPG.

The Union Cabinet late last night decided to amend the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, which dealt with alteration in motor vehicles from one fuel to another, except LPG.

However, subsidised LPG used as cooking gas cannot be used in vehicles, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pramod Mahajan told reporters today.

“LPG is environment-friendly and cheaper,” he said.

Besides, the government has made it mandatory for vehicle owners to get permission from the registration authority for converting a vehicle from petrol to diesel to avoid “unsafe changes and pollution”, he said.

Owners of more than 10 vehicles would also be henceforth not allowed to alter their engines without prior sanction of the registration authority.

To make school buses safer, it was decided to withdraw exemption to educational institutions to run vehicles without any permit, which is mandatory for other public vehicles.

The Cabinet also decided to rationalise the punishment structure for smuggling and trafficking of narcotics and psychotropic substances by stipulating among other things that search, seizure and arrest be made within 72 hours of such offences.

To effect the changes, the Cabinet decided last night to make changes in the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Amendment Bill, 1998, to make provisions of the Act “more practical” in respect of powers of search, seizure and arrest, Mr Pramod Mahajan told reporters today.

The 1998 Bill was examined by the standing committee of Parliament whose recommendations were taken into account while finalising the amendment Bill, he said.

The recommendations include empowering courts to impose a fine exceeding Rs 2 lakh and giving discretion to special courts to accept or reject complaints beyond 180 days of an offence.

The Cabinet approved the amendment Bill for reintroduction in the Rajya Sabha in the forthcoming session of Parliament, he said.

It also cleared an amendment to the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Act to automatically remove any Member of Parliament once he or she became a minister or chairperson of either House as a member of the autonomous body and elect someone else in his place.

Two members from the Lok Sabha and one from the Rajya Sabha are elected to the AIIMS Board.

The Cabinet also approved a proposal for the amendment to the Coalmines Nationalisation Act, 1993, to enable non-captive mining of coal and ignite for non-captive consumption.

Under the denationalisation of the coalmines , private companies will be allowed to go for mining which has been under public sector since 1972. But the situation will not to be allowed to be that prevailing in pre-nationalised days in the coal mines, Mr Mahajan said.

The automotive industry is stepping up efforts to incorporate LPG-driven engines in cars following the Cabinet’s nod to allow usage of LPG as alternate fuel.

Hyundai Director B.V.R. Subbu told UNI: “Hyundai has already been offering LPG-driven option on its Santro equivalent cars in Korea. We have the technology and have, in fact, been for long asking the Government to allow this option in India as well. We welcome the move and will bring this technology to India,” he added.

Mahindra and Mahindra officials said the company would initiate steps to offer its vehicles in the LPG-driven option.

“We have already introduced the CNG option in our vehicles and will now try to get the LPG option available to our customers,” the officials added.

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