Worldwide, there are roughly 7 to 8 million vehicles run on CNG, with the largest number in Argentina, Brazil, Iran, Pakistan and Thailand. As petroleum prices erratically jump up and down, it's tempting to look at CNG as an economic alternative. Majority of public private vehicles have converted to CNG because of cheaper price as compared to petrol and diesel having been made expensive, both due to taxation policies and as well as due to higher international market prices. The recent incident in Gujrat with 16 children dead, the reason being a leaking CNG container has shocked and saddened everyone.
In Pakistan 2,000 people were killed in cylinder blasts in 2011 and this figure is almost double in 2012, as the government could not take any concrete steps to stop the usage of substandard cylinders. Furthermore, the government has tried to ensure that certified cylinders and kits are used but they cannot force the transporters not to use old, expired uncertified cylinders in their vehicles, which are increasing the risk of explosion. The shelf life of a cylinder is five years, but some greedy transporters still use them after the expiry date.
It is the duty of the government to ban supply of CNG to public vehicles i.e. busses, vans and coaches, because in case of an emergency, it is difficult for the passengers to save their lives. A reduction in diesel and petrol prices can save many lives; it is time to take immediate actions to save many.
AMER FAROOQI,
Lahore, May 31.