Lives at riskThe government recently sealed Surya Gas Udhyog, a cooking gas bottling company in Nala, Bhaktapur, for selling liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) in expired cylinders. The government’s move is commendable as date-expired cylinders are like ticking time bombs.
The government recently sealed Surya Gas Udhyog, a cooking gas bottling company in Nala, Bhaktapur, for selling liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) in expired cylinders. The government’s move is commendable as date-expired cylinders are like ticking time bombs.
Many people in the country have lost their lives to gas cylinder explosions and many others have been disfigured or have suffered severe injuries. In May last year, three people lost their lives in Lalitpur after gas bottled in a cylinder of HP Gas exploded. In the same year, a fire broke out in a house in Kalimati due to leakage from a gas cylinder supplied by Sugam Gas, resulting in the death of a child.
These accidents occurred because of the poor quality of cylinders supplied by gas bottlers.
Currently, around seven million cooking gas cylinders are in circulation nationwide. And as income level increases, more people will start using LPG to cook food and carry out other activities. But as timely hydraulic tests have not been conducted, it is not known whether these cylinders are safe to use. The government should therefore become proactive on this front to ensure safety.
A gas cylinder has a lifespan of 15 years. To make sure that a cylinder is safe, bottlers must carry out the first hydraulic test 10 years after it is put into circulation. If a cylinder passes the hydraulic test, it can be used for another five years.
But many people are not aware of these facts. Even those who are aware often don’t ask whether the cylinders they are using have passed the test. Many users of gas cylinders also do not know that the expiry date is stamped near the neck or foot ring of the cylinders. The lifespan of a gas cylinder is denoted by a number followed by the letters A, B, C and D. For example, the symbol 17 A means it is safe for use till March 2017. The symbol 17 B means the cylinder can be used until June 2017.
The government must check whether gas bottling plants are distributing gas cylinders based on their shelf life. For this, it must regularly inspect gas bottling plants and stop the malpractice and negligence that puts human lives at risk.