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Gas plants shut down over safety violations

- Rajesh Khanal, NAGENDRA ADHIKARI, KATHMANDU & KAVRE
Gas bottlers have been found to be filling defective cylinders with cooking gas after merely repairing the safety valves

Jan 6, 2018-The Bureau of Standards and Metrology has shut down two liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) bottling plants in Kavrepalanchok, Surya Gas and Chandeshwori Gas, for violating safety regulations.

The bureau’s Director General Bishwo Babu Pudasaini said they took action after the two factories defied its instruction to obtain Nepal Standard (NS) certification.

The LPG Bottling Plant Operation Standards was issued in November 2016, and bottling plants were told to obtain NS certification within three months. “However, Surya Gas and Chandeshwori Gas have not started the necessary process even till date,” Pudasaini said.

Meanwhile, the bureau has ordered Sagarmatha Gas, the producer of Sagar Gas brand cooking gas, to fulfil the necessary safety norms and report to the bureau within three days. According to Pudasaini, Sagarmatha Gas has started the process of fulfilling the requirements but has a long way to go.

Gas bottlers have been found to be filling defective cylinders with cooking gas after merely repairing the safety valves, Pudasaini said. “In addition, the plants are not equipped with proper fire extinguishing devices and do not have an adequate number of trained manpower to deal with emergencies,” he said.

As per the new regulation, bottling plants need to hire the necessary technical manpower and observe safety measures besides being prepared for any kind of emergency on their premises.

The bottling plants are also required to maintain a balance between their production and factory area.

Likewise, they have been told to examine their LPG cylinders on a regular basis and check the thickness of the cylinder wall, sludge deposit, valve safety and safety caps.

The new rule says that bottling plants should be established at least 5 km apart. “However, the three bottlers are located hardly 300 metres from each other. They are also too close to densely populated residential areas,” said Director Manoj Kumar Upadhyaya of the bureau who led the monitoring team.

There are 55 gas bottling plants operating across the country. Among them, only four, Manoj Gas, Shreekrishna Gas, Nepal Gas and Saibaba Gas, have obtained NS certification.

The bureau said it would inspect the remaining gas bottling plants too.

It launched a crackdown against careless bottling plants following a fire at Super Gas Factory in Sukhasaina, Parsa two weeks ago that claimed three lives.

On Thursday, the bureau asked Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) to take action against LPG bottlers flouting safety regulations. The state-owned oil monopoly issues operating licences and purchase delivery orders to bottling plants to import LPG from India.

Published: 06-01-2018 08:52

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