The Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) has accused the Ministry of Industries of distorting the legal and factual position over the regulation of safety operations at oil and gas installations.
In a letter to the Cabinet Division on Tuesday, Ogra Member (Gas) Mansoor Muzaffar Ali said the Ministry of Industries distorted the legal and factual position with regard to the jurisdiction of the chief inspector of explosives (CIE).
He said the matter came in the exclusive domain of Ogra by virtue of Ogra Ordinance 2002, which had the overriding effect on all previous laws pertaining to hydro-carbons.
The Ministry of Industries had conveyed to the Cabinet Division that a committee headed by the secretary of the Ministry of Industries had decided that the Explosive Department was the only entity empowered to regulate safety operations of LPG, CNG, LNG and oil installations by appointing third-party inspectors. Whereas, it said, Ogra was mainly concerned with pricing, marketing, tariff, duties tax exemptions and supply of CNG, LPG and LNG.
Rejecting the decision of the committee, Ogra has requested the Cabinet Division to resolve the dispute in consultation with the Ministry of Law and Justice and in accordance with the rules of business.
The letter said that Ogra rejected the assertions of the Ministry of Industries on the grounds that Section 5 and 6 of Explosives Act and Section 4 and 5 of Petroleum Act of 1934 did not mention any powers that had been claimed to be vested in the CIE with regard to gas cylinders.
It said that the Ministry of Industries had interpreted the law though it neither had the expertise nor the requisite knowledge to do so and granted powers to the CIE which had not been mentioned anywhere in the statutes.
Muzaffar said that the decision about the appointment of third-party inspectors was fraught with a vested interest since there was no express or implicit provision in the statutes. He said that the Ministry of Industries interpreted the laws itself without referring it to the Ministry of Law and Justice.
“This has been done with mala fide intention of increasing the domain of the CIE to the areas which are already being regulated by the sector-specific regulator, ie Ogra,” the letter said.
“The Ministry of Industries has made an effort to empower its subordinate department with powers not vested in it and neither the same were ever exercised by it for the past 30 years,” it said.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 10th, 2011.