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Wednesday July 17, 2024

Crackdown policy on illegal use of CNG, LPG remains incomplete

Observers and officials said that concerned over situations like explosions in shops and vehicles, especially in rickshaws

By Salis bin Perwaiz
June 17, 2024
A worker can be seen loading the LPG cylinder. — AFP/File
A worker can be seen loading the LPG cylinder. — AFP/File

KARACHI: The policy to lead a crackdown against public transport vehicles having illegal CNG and LPG cylinders is yet to be entertained, as in the last set-up of the Sindh government they had ordered the commissioners and deputy commissioners in the province to take action against such culprits.

Observers and officials said that concerned over situations like explosions in shops and vehicles, especially in rickshaws, the provincial government before the caretaker set-up had ordered a crackdown on such elements and had also issued a relevant policy.

The policy was issued by the then transport minister, but much work on the policy yet to be done despite the passage of several months.

During the last government, concerned over frequent accidents in public transport having illegal CNG cylinders, especially school vans, the transport department had ordered a complete ban on them, and directed all commissioners and other relevant officials to strictly comply with the orders.

According to officials, every now and then the government issues warnings to public transport owners to immediately stop the illegal use of CNG cylinders in their vehicles, but all in vain.

They said that due to such dubious cylinders, explosions in vehicles have also taken place. In this regard, they added, the government has ordered a complete ban on the use of CNG cylinders in public transport vehicles.

They pointed out that the Karachi traffic police have been issuing challans over the violation since 2016, after it was banned following hearings by the apex court.

They said action has also been taken when incidents of fire or explosion concerning cylinders in public transport vehicles have been reported. Later, they added, the home department also ordered the removal of CNG cylinders from school vans, following which the traffic police made good progress in taking action against such vehicles.

They claimed that presently, there are very few vehicles with CNG cylinders. They explained that since CNG stations had remained closed three or four days a week, many people had shifted to petrol or diesel.

However, they pointed out, some had shifted to LPG cylinders, following which directives had been issued to crack down on vehicles having LPG cylinders.

They also explained how action is taken against violating vehicles: traffic sergeants take the vehicles to nearby mechanic shops or call mechanics at the challan spot, and after the cylinder is removed, it is seized and shifted to the Sindh police warehouse in Naval Colony.

Officials said that after the latest orders, the Provincial Transport Authority, which is responsible for issuing fitness certificates to vehicles, would refuse to grant fitness certificates to vehicles having CNG or LPG cylinders because they have been completely banned in the province.

The notification issued earlier by the transport secretary states taking appropriate actions and measures against the illegal use of CNG cylinders in intercity public transport vehicles, as well as all kinds of school, madrasa, college and university vehicles.

It mentions the ban imposed by the Sindh government, and the decisions of the Supreme Court and the high court. It also states that the complete ban has been imposed by the government as well as the Oil & Gas Regulatory Authority for the safety and security of commuters and students.

The Sindh government has ordered a complete ban on the use of CNG in intercity public transport vehicles in the province vide a notification dated May 8, 2015, and a complete ban on the use of CNG and LPG in all kinds of school, madrasa, college and university vehicles vide an addendum dated August 7, 2015.

Moreover, concerning the illegal filling of public service vehicles at LPG stations and decanting shops, and substandard LPG cylinder manufacturers, the government — vide a letter dated September 15, 2020, already forwarded vide a letter dated August 16, 2021 — has announced that for safety reasons, the installation of LPG cylinders or tanks on motorbikes, scooters and public service vehicles, that is three-wheelers, buses, coaches and wagons, would not be allowed and treated as illegal.

From time to time the transport department also asks forming teams headed by assistant commissioners for taking action against violators in their respective jurisdictions, but no fruitful results have been shown by the district administrations.

According to the notification, on July 24, 2020, MPAs pointed out that the implementing authorities, that is the Sindh police, the traffic police, the motorway police and the district administrations, are not taking action against violators, so majority of the vehicles of schools and intercity public transport are plying illegally with CNG cylinders despite the ban. They demanded immediate action against the violators.

Rules and laws have been framed from time to time, but they cannot be effective until their implementation is enforced and monitored by the administration.

The letter requested once again that immediate and stern action be taken against the illegal use of CNG cylinders in intercity public transport vehicles, as well as all kinds of school, madrasa, college and university vehicles.

The letter also requested taking action against the illegal filling of public service vehicles at LPG stations and decanting shops, and substandard LPG cylinder manufacturers in letter and spirit.