ISLAMABAD, Jan 5: The government decided on Thursday to formulate mechanism and rules for safety of CNG-fitted public and private vehicles.
The petroleum secretary has set up a ministerial task force to evolve an inspection and enforcement regime to ensure safety of CNG kits and cylinders installed in public transport and private vehicles.
The task force is headed by the joint secretary (admin), ministry of petroleum and natural resources with the director general of the Hydrocarbon Development Institute of Pakistan (HDIP) as its secretary. Representatives of the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra), department of explosives, ministry of industries, Motorway Police, regional transport authorities and UN Disaster Risk Consultant are members of the task force.
Although no authority has the mandate and responsibility to monitor and regulate the safety system in vehicles, the government on Dec 30 last year banned the CNG fittings in public transport vehicles after about 50 people were killed in CNG-related accidents in public transport vehicles across the country.
“We have always maintained that violators of law should be punished, but there is no law about CNG fittings in vehicles,” said Ghiyas Paracha, Chairman of the All Pakistan CNG Association.
He said that no driver would knowingly install substandard CNG fittings in his vehicle because it would put his own life in danger.
“We ourselves have been demanding of the government to regulate the CNG fittings and kits,” he added.
He accused government department of giving clearance to unfit vehicles.
The petroleum secretary said damaged, expired and non-approved cylinders would be seized by police. He said that correct placement/location of cylinders in public transport would be decided by Ogra, while use of multiple cylinders in one vehicle would be banned.
Soon after its formation, the task force held its meeting and proposed that private vehicles will be inspected annually and public service vehicles will be tested every four months. It recommended that refueling procedure and site safety at CNG pumps would be ensured by the chief inspector explosives and Ogra.
After the cut-off date Motor Vehicle Examination (MVE) will not certify vehicle having untested cylinders and the regional transport authority will not grant route permits to vehicles having untested cylinders.
The task force has already conducted detailed interactions with the interior ministry, district administrations, provincial government, traffic police and various other stakeholders, including Ogra, CNG and transport association.
The petroleum secretary has requested provincial chief secretaries to indicate location/premises in all districts for establishment of CNG testing stations by the HDIP.
The ministry of professional and vocational training has been asked to arrange for diploma courses through collaboration with Navtec and provincial technical trainings in order to produce skilled personnel who would be deployed at all CNG stations and testing centers.