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Notices issued to Ogra, HDIP in case of gas cylinders used in vehicles

Updated February 15, 2019

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No proper mechanism in place to check fitness of CNG and LPG kits, SHC told.— AFP/File
No proper mechanism in place to check fitness of CNG and LPG kits, SHC told.— AFP/File

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Thursday issued notices to officials of the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) and Hydrocarbon Development Insti­tute of Pakistan (HDIP) after it was told that no proper mechanism was in place to check and verify the CNG and LPG kits being used in vehicles.

When a set of petitions about the use of substandard CNG and LPG kits and cylinders in vehicles as well as in school vans came up for hearing before a two-judge SHC bench headed by Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar, secretary for transport and mass transit Akhtar Ghouri appeared before the bench as he was told to explain if any mechanism was in place for issuing fitness certificates regarding CNG kits being used in the vehicles.

However, the secretary submitted that the basic responsibility vested in Ogra, which is a controlling authority for the issues raised in the petitions, adding that the HDIP was working under the control and supervision of Ogra and they were responsible for checking the quality of CNG kits and cylinders. Their office was also in the city.

No proper mechanism in place to check fitness of CNG and LPG kits, SHC told

But, they have no sufficient means and resources to verify and check the vehicles for testing their fitness, the transport secretary contended and asked the bench to put the HDIP on notice asking it to explain the procedure adopted for securing safety measures in the vehicles operating on CNG or LPG.

Traffic SSP Najeeb Khan contended that they had frequently been removing CNG/LPG cylinders from school vans and also submitted a report regarding the amount of fines imposed and the cylinders seized by the traffic police.

The bench issued notices to Ogra and the HDIP and also directed an assistant attorney general to ensure the presence of a relevant officer from Ogra and the HDIP director on Feb 21.

The transport secretary also submitted copies of relevant laws which will be examined in the presence of the Ogra and HDIP representatives on the next date of hearing.

Muzammil Mumtaz, Tariq Mansoor and others had moved the SHC and contended that a rickshaw driver was forced to commit suicide as money was extorted from him at least thrice and alleged that it was a routine in Karachi that traffic police demanded bribes from rickshaw drivers and motorbike riders on main roads, and on refusal they imposed undue fines on them.

The petitioners maintained that substandard CNG cylinders were being used in public transport vehicles as well as in school vans despite the court directions and no action was being taken against such vehicles.

Impleading the home secretary, transport secretary, traffic DIG, Ogra and others as respondents, they asked the court to direct the respondents to take action against traffic police personnel demanding bribes and restrain public transport vehicles and school vans from using substandard CNG cylinders and overloading.

Baldia factory fire victims’ plea

The labour secretary on Thursday informed the same bench that the then minister for labour’s speech on May 1 last year was about the disbursement of $5.15 million, agreed by a German firm, among the victims of the garment factory in Baldia Town.

Petitioners Mohammad Tariq, Farida Bano and Syed Hashmat Ali — the victims and their relatives — moved the SHC and submitted that the then provincial labour minister Nasir Hussain Shah had announced on May 1, 2018 an amount of Rs560m as compensation for the victims of the garment factory in Baldia Town. However, that amount had not been released yet, they added.

On a directive of the court, labour secretary Abdul Rasheed Solangi appeared on Thursday and submitted his comments. The secretary contended in the written statement that the then labour minister during his speech had stated that $5.15m, agreed by the Germen brand KiK Textilien, will be disbursed among the affected families.

“This statement is totally different than what was published in newspapers on May 1, 2018,” it maintained.

The bench adjourned the hearing till Feb 28 as the lawyer for petitioners sought time to go through the comments filed by the secretary.

Published in Dawn, February 15th, 2019