Fuel price hike stokes city motorists’ ire

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Chennai: Motorists in the city are demanding a rollback in the price of petrol. Frequent hikes in the price of fuel – the most recent one corresponding to the depreciating value of the rupee - was affecting the monthly budget, the price in Chennai now being Rs71.72 a litre.
 
People are angry as using a vehicle is now a costly business for the common man. “We have some of the best economists in the world, but nobody has found a solution to the energy crisis. India would be able to manage if we got more supplies from Iran,” says G. Arun, a social activist.
 
Auto rickshaws in the city have been quick to raise fares as they are as helpless as motorists who need to use their vehicles every day. “I used to go to college every day by bike, but now I have to look at other options if the prices continue to increase,” says Bala Kumar A., a student.
 
Meanwhile, car owners claim that they are the most affected as many high-end cars are low on mileage. “My petrol bill alone will come to around Rs5,000 a month. I have no other option; increasing the prices continually seems to be harsh on the common man. The government should reduce taxes and come to people’s aid,” said A. Shanthi, a teacher.
 

In a first, high-tech lab to be set up in Chennai to test vehicles

 

Pramila Krishnan | Dc
A first-of-its-kind vehicle-testing lab will shortly be established in Chennai, the automobile capital of India, under the public-private partnership mode to improve the quality of vehicles on  the road and to reduce the galloping rate of accidents due to mechanical defects in them. 
 
The Consumer Association of India (CAI) will, along with the State government, set up this National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) to make sure that the city's vehicles are road-worthy, according to CAI founder-trustee R. Desikan.
 
He told DC that the three-acre facility would come up at  Sholinganallur and be a boon to both automobile companies and their customers. 
 
The lab would have, among other things, vehicle scanning machines and a world-class facility for  testing fuels for adulteration. "There will be a training and research  centre exclusively for the automobile industry," Desikan said. 
 
According to the 2013 report from the National Crime Records Bureau, more than 16,175 people had died in road mishaps in Tamil Nadu, which worked  out to 45 deaths a day. 
 
At this juncture the need for a specialized research-cum-testing lab would be a boon for Tamil Nadu to reduce the  mortality on the roads, said Desikan. For the octogenarian CAI founder, setting up the lab has been a long held dream, particularly since he has been fighting fuel adulterators in the city almost single-handedly for the last four decades. 
 
"Ideally, every district should have a testing centre," Desikan says. "We have to ensure that all our vehicles are road-worthy." 

 

Adulterated fuel might affect your safety on roads, too

 

Experts warn that the use of adulterated fuel in one's vehicle could bring to nought all the regular upkeep lavished on it as problems could develop suddenly, thus jeopardizing safety on the road. 
 
Anil Gupta and R. K. Sharma, who released a paper on new methods for estimation of automobile fuel adulteration, say that gasoline is adulterated by mixing in diesel, and diesel, in turn, by the mixing in of kerosene. 
 
"This is because such adulteration, when limited to small volumes, is difficult to detect by the automobile user. The expected  adulteration percentage is 10 per cent to 30 per cent by volume in  both the cases," they say in their paper. The by-product of crude  oil, called naphtha, is also used as an adulterant in  petrol in many cases. The authors say that it was necessary to monitor  fuel quality at the point of distribution. 
 
According to the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), every motorist can test the quality of the fuel with filter paper. When you drop petrol on a blotting paper, it will evaporate within a minute. If the petrol contains oil, it would take more time to evaporate and leave a stain on the paper.

 

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