Money

Regulator says gas bottling plants flouting safety rules

  • CONSUMER RIGHTS
- Rajesh Khanal, Kathmandu

Jan 30, 2019-

Most of the gas bottling plants have not been following safety measures putting consumers at high risk of suffering injury or even death due to unsafe cylinders, the Nepal Bureau of Standards and Metrology said after making several market inspections.

On January 16, a woman was killed and four others sustained injuries when a cooking gas cylinder exploded at Deep Jyoti in Tokha Municipality on the northern outskirts of Kathmandu. On the same day, two people were injured when a cylinder exploded in Gongabu.

Consumer rights activists said such incidents had been increasing across the country as authorities were not serious about implementing safety standards.

A few days ago, the bureau sealed Himalayan Petrochemical Bottling Plant in Dhading after the gas company was found using old valves without repairing them properly. The plant was also selling expired gas cylinders without carrying out hydrostatic testing. It also failed to store the cylinders as per the prescribed standards.

Bishwo Babu Pudasaini, director general of the bureau, said they took action as the bottler had been ignoring safety norms despite repeated instructions from the regulator.

“We have asked for clarification, and will allow the bottler to resume operations only after it improves its cylinder handling mechanism,” Pudasaini said.

As per the Nepal Bureau of Standards and Metrology, bottling companies have to do a hydrostatic test of the cylinders for the first time after 10 years from the date of use.

They have to carry out similar tests every five years subsequently. However, very few bottlers have been following the rule. Last December, the bureau made it mandatory for gas companies to obtain the Nepal Standards certification mark. It has given a six-month deadline to do so, and 35 of the 55 gas companies have got the quality assurance mark so far.

In order to obtain Nepal Standards certification, bottlers are required to examine their liquefied petroleum gas cylinders on a regular basis and check the thickness of the cylinder wall, sludge deposit, valve safety and safety caps.

They are also mandated to conduct hydraulic and leakage tests of the cylinders.

According to the bureau, the offending plants have cited delays in the import of the necessary equipment for not upgrading their system, but it has no plans to take action against them.

Published: 30-01-2019 08:38

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