Cases have been registered against 13 liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) filling businesses in several residential areas of Bahawalpur in a week, District Officer (Civil Defence) Muhammad Arshad told The Express Tribune on Thursday.
He said he could only fine these businesses or prosecute them but not seal them. “The court may decide to seal them or impose another penalty,” he said. The DO (Civil Defence) said sale of liquefied petroleum gas in residential areas was prohibited under the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority rules.
Talking to The Express Tribune, two of these 13 businesses said they were not bothered by the registration of cases against them. Muhammad Shahid, who runs a filling station opposite Quaid-i-Azam Medical College in Darul Kabab area, said he had obtained a pre-arrest bail from a court. He said the only effect the case would have on his business would be the time he had to spend away from work to attend court hearings once in a while. “The administration issues notices and registers cases against us every now and then,” he said. The case against Shahid has been registered with Baghdadul Jadeed police.
Muhammad Zahid, who runs his LPG filling business on Station Road near Kausar Colony, has also obtained a pre-arrest bail from the court. The FIR against his business is registered with Cantonment police under Sections 285 (negligence with combustible materials) and 286 (negligence with explosive materials) of the Pakistan Penal Code.
LPG filling stations are running in several residential areas of the city. These include: Zanana Hospital Road, Stadium Road, Eidgah Road, Bund Road near Darul Kabab, Peepalwala Chowk in Model Town, Auqaf Market, General Bus Stand and near Government Girls Higher Secondary School in Chah Fateh Khan area. Several residents said they had submitted several complaints to the administration to relocate these businesses away from residential areas but no action had yet been taken against them.
285: negligent conduct with respect to fire or combustible matter:
Whoever does, with tyre or any combustible matter, any act so rashly or negligently as to endanger human life, or to be likely to cause injury to any other person, or knowingly or negligently omits to take such order with any combustible matter in his possession as is sufficient to guard against any probable danger to human life from such fire or combustible matter, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to [three thousand rupees], or with both.
286: negligent conduct with respect to explosive substance:
Whoever does, with any explosive substance any act so rashly or negligently as to endanger human life, or to be likely to cause hurt or injury to any other person, or knowingly or negligently omits to take such order with any explosive substance in his possession as is sufficient to guard against any probable danger to human life from that substance, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to [three thousand rupees], or with both.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 18th, 2012.