“Ogra hopes that these measures will help control not only low pressure problems of gas but will also control CNG-related accidents in public transport vehicles,” the letter added.
Ogra’s Member Gas Mansoor Muzaffar said “a policy decision may be taken on urgent basis and filling of CNG in public transport vehicles including buses, coasters and wagons by CNG stations may be banned as accidents in vehicles are occurring due to unauthorised conversion and leakage of gas.”
He said people and industrialists were worried over shortage of gas and low pressure, which had also hurt economic development.
He suggested that private vehicles with more than one cylinder should also not be allowed CNG consumption and said a policy decision should be taken immediately.
Muzaffar also recommended that provincial governments should take stern action against unauthorised and illegal CNG conversion workshops to ensure public safety.
Secretary Petroleum Ejaz Chudhary said that the Ministry was seriously considering to completely ban use of CNG in public transport due to increasing accidents of cylinder blasts.
During a meeting to review the safety measures adopted by CNG-fitted public transport vehicles, which was attended by All Pakistan CNG Association (APCNGA), relevant Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) officials and others, he asked APCNGA members to stop refilling of CNG in public transports vehicles including vans and buses so that increasing incidents of cylinder blasts, which so far have claimed dozens of lives across the country, could be minimised.
It was decided in the meeting that no CNG would be provided to the suspected public service vehicles.
Chairman APCNG Paracha said that cylinder blasts in the public vehicles were caused by substandard cylinder and CNG kits, adding that the association has no authority to check all vehicles as it was not their responsibility to implement the rules and regulations. He further stated that Ogra had time and again directed the provincial transport authorities to close all unauthorised CNG cylinder fitting workshops being operated in streets.
Paracha said that involvement of multiple departments in dealing with the affairs of CNG was also one of the main reasons behind increasing incidents of CNG cylinder blasts. He said that at present his association has sufficient material to set up three laboratories, but Ogra, Ministry of Industries and other departments are not giving them clearance.
He said that the provincial transport authorities were issuing fitness certificates to old vehicles without adopting required procedure and this practice should be checked.
Though the government seriously considering to ban use of CNG in public transport vehicles, environmentalists have voiced concerned over the proposed decision. They argued that the regulatory body should perform its regulatory duties instead of proposing ban on the use of environmental friendly fuel.
Regarding the gas shortage, they said that the government should pay attention toward exploring gas as they country had enormous gas reserves.
An environmentalist said that about six million vehicles run across Pakistan and out of them almost half of the vehicles are being run on CNG. Despite that the air pollution continues to be a major concern in the country.
He said Lahore leads as the most polluted city, followed by Islamabad, the only properly planned city. Peshawar stands at No 3 regarding air pollution while Karachi comes at No 04. He urged the government to take the environmental degradation seriously and took immediate measures to control it instead of discouraging use of environmental friendly fuel.