By George Psyllides
VEHICLES being illegally powered with gas ahead of the official introduction of such a service have been described as ‘mobile bombs on Cyprus’ roads.
As Cyprus gears for the introduction of gas-powered vehicles, it appears some motorists have already installed such systems illegally, MPs discussing the relevant bill in the House Communications Committee were told.
“We think it is very dangerous because no one knows whether these systems were installed under the necessary specifications,” committee chairman Antonis Antoniou said.
Antoniou said the Road Transport Department has been asked to carry out checks and inform the committee whether the information was true.
AKEL MP Andreas Facontis questioned how the drivers got away with breaking the law considering their vehicles had to go through MOT every two years. He also wondered where they filled up from since there was no licensed company to do this.
“Are they indeed using (home) gas cylinders in the boot of the vehicle? And if yes, it is not a vehicle, it is a mobile bomb on Cypriot roads,” Facontis said.
The committee discussed provisions concerning the professionals who would be installing the gas kits as well as the conditions that needed to be met by the organisations that will train them.
The bill provides for 110 hours training – 50 theory and 60 practical.
However, for someone to be qualified to install the system they must first obtain a specialised training certificate from the company that manufactures the kit.
That will mean 16 hours additional training
The cost for converting a vehicle will be between €1,200 and €1,500 and motorists will only be able to refill their tanks from specific stations that will need a special licence.
Ruling DISY MP Zaharias Zahariou censured the government for dragging its feet on the matter; it had pledged to wrap up the matter by last December.
Zahariou said three ministries were involved and there was no roadmap.
The law does not ban bi-fuel vehicles, nor does it prohibit the import of factory-made bi-fuel vehicles.
“What it prohibits, through a decree issued in 1977, is the use of gas in automotives,” Zahariou said.
The DISY deputy said there are motorists who break the law and it was dangerous because no one had checked the installation.
“Whether it is with the old way where they threw a gas cylinder in the boot, what we are interested in more is safety.” he said