Ticking time tinderboxes

19 October, 2019 12:00 AM printer

In a tragic accident at Anwara in Chattogram on Thursday, three members of a family were killed and an equal number of others wounded when the cylinder of a gas-fuelled ambulance exploded. The blast was so powerful that it ripped the vehicle to shreds.

Actually, faulty and substandard cylinders are nothing but bombs that passengers of gas-powered vehicles sit on, completely unaware of the potential danger that they are exposed to. These time bombs are silently ticking to explode at one moment, only to kill and maim the people heading towards comfort and safety of homes.

But who are to blame for the likely accidents – the cylinders or the people who opted for using below standard or old steel bottles only to save money? Of course, the metal devices are not responsible for the fatal incidents: They are inanimate objects having no mental faculty to decide events; they sincerely serve in accordance with their capacity. Vehicle owners are responsible for knowingly imposing pressure on cylinders beyond the latter’s capacity to bear. The Anwara incident is one of the fatal consequences of such mindless actions. And such tragic incidents are quite frequent; as many as 58 cases of cylinder blasts were recorded in a single year sometime back.

The only argument behind the use of such risky gadgets is that installation of quality cylinders is several times costlier than the low quality ones. Yes, they are costly but surely not costlier than life and vehicles. There is no alternative to using quality devices and re-testing them within five years of their installation. But it is alarming to know that people not only use substandard cylinders in vehicles, they also refrain from checking the old ones from time to time. 

Strict monitoring by competent authorities can drastically bring down the rate of using low quality cylinders; but that is just one aspect of the measures against use of substandard cylinders. However, no monitoring can ensure complete end of the wrong and risky practice; people’s awareness about the dangers involved in the mindless ignorance can really play magic and reduce cylinder blast related accidents as well as consequent fatalities.