ISLAMABAD: The Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) directed provincial governments on Friday to implement its directive of banning the filling of CNG cylinders fitted beneath the seats and in passenger compartments of public service vehicles and taking action against violators.
In view of the importance of protecting human lives, “it’s once again reiterated to implement in letter and spirit the same (ban/action) and take punitive action against defaulters as per provincial government rules and policy,” said a fresh Ogra directive to the provincial governments.
“CNG stations violating the ban should be sealed in accordance with provincial government’s law and rules for the sake of public safety,” Ogra said.
An Ogra official said that fitting of CNG cylinders under passenger seats or within the passenger compartment was illegal and was banned forthwith. But the ban would not apply to public service vehicles with cylinders on their roofs.
He said that while the directive had been sent to provincial chief secretaries and inspectors-general of police of the provinces, AJK, National Highways and Motorways and Islamabad capital territory to take action against vehicles and CNG stations violating the rules, the Ogra’s special teams had themselves taken the initiative to check CNG stations to detect violations of the ban.
The official said that Ogra teams had disconnected gas supplies to 22 CNG stations and cancelled CNG marketing licences of another two stations for violating the rules.
He said CNG licences of two stations in Hyderabad had been cancelled while raids had been carried out in Khushab, Mianwali, Sargodha, Chiniot and Jhang. The action has already been started in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh.
The official said Ogra had been asking the ministry of petroleum and natural resources to completely ban the filling of CNG in public service vehicles but it swung into action after a recent incident of fire in a van in Gujrat and suo motu notices taken by the Supreme Court and Lahore High Court.
On the other hand, chairman of the All Pakistan CNG Association Ghiyas Abdullah Paracha said the CNG was being provided to public service vehicles under Ogra Rules of 1992 and the ban and action being taken against CNG stations, were in violation of Ogra’s own rules.
He said if the government or Ogra had formulated any rules they should have informed the CNG association about them.
He said the association had written letters to the petroleum ministry and Ogra for a clarification or for providing the rules that they might have formulated, but it was yet to receive a response.
Last week, Ogra had asked the government to impose a complete ban on filling of CNG in public service vehicles and directed the transport authorities to launch a massive crackdown against vehicles with uncertified CNG and LPG cylinders.
Ogra said that the CNG fire-related accidents in public sector vehicles were on the rise despite the fact that extensive time and energy had been spent on formulation of Standard Operating Procedures.
The Chief Justice of Lahore High Court had also taken a serious notice of the loss of precious life and property in such accidents and a case was still pending before the LHC.