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ISLAMABAD: Local authorities have been directed to take action against school vans that have compressed natural gas (CNG) cylinders installed underneath seats.

The crackdown was ordered by Islamabad Transport Authority (ITA) chairman and deputy commissioner Hamza Shafqaat, who has asked the senior superintendent of police (SSP) (traffic), ITA secretary, motor vehicle examiner and motor mobile patrolling inspector undertake an active campaign against the practice.

A notification issued in this regard stated: “It has been informed by the secretary, Islamabad Transport that during field checking it has been found that number of school vans have been fitted with CNG cylinder underneath seats which is not only dangerous but also illegal defined under section 199/122 of Motor Vehicle Ordinance 1965.”

A special team is being deputed for this purpose by the SSP traffic, the notification added.

A capital administration official said that scores of complaints have been launched with the capital administration regarding the installation of CNG cylinders in passenger transport.

The ITA secretary was asked to verify these complaints, which was when he spotted a number of school vans fitted with cylinders.

The official said separate teams of the Islamabad Traffic Police and administration would take legal action against vehicle owners involved in this practice. They will be deployed around schools to intercept vehicles and inspect them, he said.

“Cylinder will be removed from the vehicles,” the official added. The drivers may also be fined and the vehicles may be impounded.

The official said: “We are well aware of the shortage of school vans and buses in the capital, but no one will be allowed to put the lives of our children on risk. Before ordering the crackdown the capital administration collected all the necessary details, which also revealed that a number of school vans charged parents fares based on the price of petrol but use CNG as fuel for their vehicles.”

Published in Dawn, February 1st, 2019