Provincial transport dept directs all commissioners and relevant officials to strictly comply with orders against usage
Sindh's transport department has ordered a complete crackdown against the illegal use of CNG cylinders in all public transport vehicles including vans carrying schoolchildren, after frequent accidents have occurred as a result of its usage.
Placing a complete ban on use of CNG cylinders, the department has directed all the provincial commissioners and relevant officials to strictly comply with the orders.
Every now and then, according to the officials, the government issues warning to public transport owners to stop the illegal use of the cylinders in their vehicles, but all in vain. Officials said thatexplosions in vehicles have also taken place due to the dubious cylinders.
Karachi Deputy Inspector-General of Police Traffic Ahmed Nawaz Cheema told The News that his department has been issuing challans over the violation since 2016, after it was banned following hearings by the apex court.
The traffic police chief said that action has also been taken when incidents of fire or explosion concerning cylinders in public transport vehicles have been reported. He said that later, the home department also ordered the removal of CNG cylinders from school vans, following which the traffic police made good progress in taking action against such vehicles.
He claimed that presently, there are very few vehicles with CNG cylinders. He explained that since CNG stations had remained closed three or four days a week, many people had shifted to petrol or diesel. However, he pointed out, some had shifted to LPG cylinders, following which directives had been issued to initiate a crackdown on vehicles with LPG cylinders.
He also explained how action is taken against violating vehicles: traffic sergeants take the vehicles to nearby mechanic shops or call mechanics at the challan spot, and after the cylinder is removed, it is seized and shifted to the Sindh police warehouse in Naval Colony.
Cheema said that after the latest orders, the Provincial Transport Authority, which is responsible for issuing fitness certificates to vehicles, will refuse to grant fitness certificates to vehicles having CNG or LPG cylinders because they have been completely banned in the province.
He said they have issued challans to eight intercity buses this year, and removed four CNG and LPG cylinders, while owners of 39 school buses and vans with CNG or LPG cylinders have also been given challans.
He added that between 2016 and May 2023, the traffic police department challaned 5,690 intercity buses and seized 576 cylinders, and also fined 7,045 school buses and vans, and seized 2,588 CNG and LPG cylinders. The notification issued earlier by the transport secretary directed taking appropriate actions and measures against the illegal use of CNG cylinders in intercity public transport vehicles, as well as all kinds of school, madrasa, college and university vehicles.
It mentioned the ban imposed by the Sindh, as well as the decisions of the Supreme Court and the provincial high court. It is also stated that the complete ban has been imposed by the government as well as the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority for the safety and security of commuters and students.
The Sindh government had ordered a complete ban on the use of CNG in intercity public transport vehicles in the province vide a notification dated May 8, 2015, and a complete ban on the use of CNG and LPG in all kinds of school, madrasa, college and university vehicles vide an addendum dated August 7, 2015.
Moreover, concerning the illegal filling of public service vehicles at LPG stations and decanting shops, and substandard LPG cylinder manufacturers, the government — vide a letter dated September 15, 2020, already forwarded vide a letter dated August 16, 2021 — had announced that for safety reasons, the installation of LPG cylinders or tanks on motorbikes, scooters and public service vehicles including three-wheelers, buses, coaches and wagons, will not be allowed and treated as illegal.
From time to time the transport department also asks forming teams headed by assistant commissioners for taking action against violators in their respective jurisdictions, but no fruitful results have been shown by the district administrations.
According to the notification, on July 24, 2020, MPAs pointed out that the implementing authorities, that is the Sindh police, the traffic police, the motorway police and the district administrations, are not taking action against violators, so majority of the vehicles of schools and intercity public transport are plying illegally with CNG cylinders despite the ban. They demanded immediate action against the violators.
Rules and laws have been framed from time to time, but they cannot be effective until their implementation is enforced and monitored by the administration.
The letter requested once again that immediate and stern action be taken against the illegal use of CNG cylinders in intercity public transport vehicles, as well as all kinds of school, madrasa, college and university vehicles.
The letter also requested taking action against the illegal filling of public service vehicles at LPG stations and decanting shops, and substandard LPG cylinder manufacturers in letter and spirit.