Faulty CNG cylinders
Two horrible accidents within the same week involving faulty gas cylinders in vehicles should be a wakeup call to CNG vehicle users and the authorities that immediate steps have to be taken to prevent such devastating disasters. In the latest incident, two people were killed and four others injured when the CNG cylinder of a car exploded when the car was being refueled at a station. Investigating authorities believe it was because the cylinder was defective.
In fact, a Daily Star report has found that a huge number of CNG-run vehicles run the risk of explosion due to faulty or counterfeit cylinders. This is because cylinders of some 1.5 lakh vehicles in the country have not been tested since their conversion into CNG quite a few years ago. International guidelines, followed by a government circular, have stipulated that gas cylinders must go through fitness tests every five years. Unfortunately, this has not been the case in this country due to lack of awareness amongst vehicle owners, lax enforcement of the required tests by the authorities and a dearth of testing centres.
More disasters, meanwhile, are waiting to happen. Apart from the two accidents that occurred within one week, there have been quite a few others involving gas cylinders of buses and other vehicles. It is crucial that the government take immediate measures to set up more testing areas, and require that all vehicles owners submit CNG cylinder test reports to the BRTA. An awareness campaign is also necessary to alert vehicle owners and passengers regarding the risk of explosion in vehicles with faulty gas cylinders and the need for these cylinders to get tested.