By Andria Kades
A government decision to have propane-powered vehicles operational within the first quarter of 2016 will unlikely be adhered to, the House Commerce committee heard on Tuesday.
Citing bureaucracy, delays in hiring staff for the labour ministry inspection department and the unwillingness of some petrol importing companies, committee chairman Zacharias Zachariou said the majority of necessary decrees and legislature had been implemented.
What was left, and would potentially hold up the timeframe, is hiring three inspectors – an ongoing process.
Speaking to reporters, he said petrol companies were not showing the willingness needed to set up licensed stations to actually power cars with propane.
“It seems as though the timeframe for the first quarter of 2016 will be difficult to implement but as the commerce committee we will exercise pressure and make the appropriate contacts so it can be implemented within the timeframe,” Zachariou said.
The committee request to the commerce ministry outlined their wish all ministry members involved convene within the next 10 days to try and resolve the problems and have the matter brought before the House within 15 days.
AKEL’s Costas Costa questioned whether there were ‘interests’ behind the delays which were leading towards scrapping the timeframe entirely.
“Let the government finally proceed with completing the procedures to allow citizens a chance to purchase much cheaper and less polluting fuel,” he said.
Costa attributed the delays to the Cabinet for not making public a decree they issued banning the current decree, which forbids the use of propane in vehicles.
Additionally, terms and conditions on receipt, storage and delivery of propane set up by the customs chief were also not made public while the road planning department is taking too long to examine applications for licencing new stations, he said.
EDEK MP George Varnava added that in several European countries storage and supply stations are above ground with all security measures in place while in Cyprus, they are required to be underground, increasing construction and operation costs.
The Greens’ George Perdikis said government bureaucracy and the new staff that needed to be hired should be resolved immediately so by spring, the greener and cheaper power supply could finally be made available to consumers.