ISLAMABAD: The Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) has warned of strict action against liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) producers and marketing companies for filling unlicensed bowsers that are considered walking bombs, putting in danger the lives of public.
According to officials aware of the development, only 2 to 3% of LPG bowser manufacturers out of the total of around 1,200 had got licence from the Explosives Department for meeting the safety standards whereas the remaining were like walking bombs.
According to reports, 350-400 uncertified manufacturers are operating in Lahore and Gujranwala alone that manufacture LPG cylinders and bowsers.
More than a dozen people were reported to have been killed and several injured when an LPG tanker collided with a car and two rickshaws in February in Sheikhupura. This prompted Ogra to issue warnings but uncertified LPG bowsers were still in the market despite having no licence from the Explosives Department.
Industry officials argue that bowser manufacturers are not inclined to apply for the licence because of the complicated procedure of the Explosives Department of the Ministry of Industries.
“The Explosives Department has made it mandatory to get licence for the prime mover, a carrier of LPG bowser, which is beyond understanding,” an official said. Industry people also allege that they have to give bribe to win the licence and that is the reason why illegal LPG bowsers are on roads.
Explosives Department Chief Inspector Muhammad Hussain Chana did not respond to repeated requests for comments.
According to a letter written to chief executive officers of the LPG producers and marketing companies, Ogra said it had noticed that standard safety procedures and good safety practices were not being followed in filling LPG bowsers at local LPG producers, LPG terminals and decanting of LPG bowsers at plants of marketing companies, endangering public safety.
“It may also be noted that safety violations by companies will not be tolerated by the authority, therefore, all licensees are directed to comply with the safety requirements and adhere to the directions which will be checked by the special teams of Ogra and violations will face serious legal implications,” the letter said.
The regulator said no bowser should be filled at the LPG terminals or LPG producers without proper inspection and documentation, safety check and fulfillment of procedures. All local LPG producers and LPG terminals may check the LPG bowsers’ licence, third-party inspection certificate, motor vehicle examiner certificate and bowser manufacturer’s name plate prior to filling the bowsers.
All LPG marketing companies, LPG producers and LPG terminals must install tracking system in their owned and hired LPG bowsers for keeping check on the route and movement of bowsers, Ogra suggested.
It said training session of LPG bowser drivers and staff regarding safety and handling of emergencies must be arranged by the LPG marketing companies, terminals, producers and the LPG Association of Pakistan and keep record of the same on plants, which would be checked and asked by the authority.
Comprehensive data of the LPG bowsers filled at LPG terminals and LPG producers must be maintained, which would be checked and asked by the authority as and when required, it said.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 5th, 2016.
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