As many as 2,000 people died because of CNG cylinder explosions last year, said a Civil Society Front (CSF) report released on Monday.
Terming the danger ‘alarming’, the CSF report said that the deaths were likely double in 2012 as the government has not taken any steps to increase safety.
Addressing a news conference, CSF Director Ayub Munir said the number of people killed in CNG cylinder explosions was four times greater than the number of people who died in US drone strikes in 2011. He said it was unfortunate that the issue of low-quality CNG cylinders never got due attention from the government.
The CSF report also presented 14 measures to increase safety. The report demanded the government to immediately cancel route permits of all public transport which is operating on low-quality CNG cylinders. It further said that the government should set up workshops across the country which should be authorised to issue ‘fitness certificates’ to all vehicles passing a benchmark test of safety. These workshops should paste an RFID (Remote Frequency Identification Tag) on the examined vehicles and the tag should be tamper-proof.
The report also proposed that the Ogra Hydrocarbon Institute of Pakistan should only permit certified CNG workshops to operate. Certificates should only be issued after ensuring a quality control check on the staff and the equipment being used in these workshops.
The government should ensure the abandonment of all unauthorised CNG-kit installing and checking shops, where fake fitness certificates are being issued to consumers, the report suggested. “These shops don’t even have the required CNG kit and cylinder checking equipments.”
Traffic police officials should be authorised to check CNG fitness certificates and RFID issued by a certified testing laboratory to private and commercial vehicles.
“Without the support of the traffic police, implementation of any safety measures against CNG cylinder explosions is impossible,” Munir said.
A complete ban on the use of CNG cylinders in HTV vehicles including buses, mini buses and coaches was also proposed.
Other recommendations included mass-level awareness campaigns to be initiated across Pakistan regarding the significance of the quality of CNG cylinders and the risk associated with low quality ones.
The report further demanded that licenses of gas stations which are not abiding by safety rules, and filling gas in vehicles that do not bear safety certificates, should be revoked.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 10th, 2012.
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