Untested gas cylinder use rampant

Mahabub Alam

24 February, 2020 12:00 AM printer

Thousands of CNG-run vehicles are plying the roads across the country with date-expired gas cylinders putting the passengers’ lives at risk of accident. 

A total of 5, 04, 538 vehicles are using gas cylinders in the country.

Of those, 95,612 cylinders were retested from the authorised places so far while 4,08,926 remain un-tested.

Rupantarita Prakritik Gas Company Limited (RPGCL) disclosed the information from their study data.

At least 53 vehicle cylinders blast incidents occurred in the last 11 years, resulting death and injury to many people, says the RPGCL.

There is a regulation that every vehicle’s gas cylinder must go through test after every five years to confirm its fitness.

But most of the owners of the vehicles run by the CNG do not follow the rule.

Wishing not to be named, an officer of the RPGCL told this correspondent that many drivers of government vehicles sold the original cylinders and installed substandard ones.

After explosion of a number of cylinders of the vehicles, it was found that the cylinders were not original. Besides, the authorities concerned are reportedly reluctant to take action against the owners of untested vehicles’ cylinders.

The Department of Explosives, RPGCL, police and Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) are the main authorities.

Department of Explosives, which permits retest of the cylinders, is reported to be blind to the serious issue.

Engr Mohammad Ali Biswas, general manager (CNG/operation) of the RPGCL, has said that they often ask the owners of the vehicles to retest their cylinders after a certain period. “We have no authorisation to take action,” he said.

This correspondent talked to a number of drivers of private cars and autos run by CNG.

They said police never asked them about the documents of retest on the cylinders when they checked other documents, including driving licences and fitness certificate. The drivers said that BRTA men never asked the same documents during fitness check.

When contacted DIG (media) of Police Headquarters Ruhul Amin, he asked this correspondent to contact with AIG (media) Sohel Rana.

But Sohel Rana could not be reached over phone despite several attempts. DIG of Highway Police and additional commissioner (traffic) of DMP also could not be contacted.

Md Mahbub-E-Rabbani, director (road safety) of the BRTA, told the daily sun on Sunday that most of the private CNG-run vehicles got retested their cylinders.

“But there is no three-wheeler auto in the capital with expired cylinders. Because we replaced half of the autos few years ago and the rest were tested by Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) and Military Institute of Science and Technology (MIST) in 2015,” he said.

In response to a question, he said the BRTA headquarters directed its officials concerned to check documents of cylinders during fitness check.