ISLAMABAD - While keeping mum on the ban imposed ten months back, the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) has now initiated strict action against the CNG stations which are involved in filling gas in those cylinders that are installed beneath the seats of public transport.

With this sincere effort of the Ogra, millions of public transporters would face restrictions, sources said on Tuesday, adding that the regulator, waking up from deep slumber, has now started taking strict action against the CNG stations involved in filling the CNG cylinders (installed under the seats) of public transport.

Officials at Ogra informed that under the Public Safety Act, the regulator has now stopped the CNG retailers to fill CNG cylinders of such public transport vehicles. Ogra enforcement team has conducted raids on nine different CNG stations located in Rawalpindi, Islamabad and on Motorway. During these raids, seven CNG stations were found filling those CNG cylinders that are installed below the seats of public transport. Ogra has issued show cause notices to different CNG stattions involved in this practice.

Showing serious concerns over this irresponsible practice, the Ogra officials were of the view that installation of CNG cylinders under the seats in public transport is against the prescribed rules which can cause untoward incident/accident at any time. Gas supply connections will be disconnected if CNG stations were found violating the Public Safety Act, officials unanimously added. 

With the start of ongoing year, Ogra along with the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Resources (MPNR) imposed ban on filing those CNG cylinders that were fixed beneath the seats of public transport. But, owing to a joint strike call by the transporters and CNG associations of the country, decision of imposing strict ban was postponed.

On ban and issuance of show cause notices, All Pakistan CNG Association Chairman Ghiyas Abdullah Paracha said Ogra is doing only what the MPNR is directing it to do. He said Ogra is unwarrantedly creating hurdles for once-robust CNG industry. Though Ogra Ordinance does not permit the authority to impose such ban, yet the authority, setting aside its due role, is all-out to hush up the matter of CNG prices where the authority unjustifiably reduced the prices of the commodity ahead of winter season. “Ogra Ordinance only asks for suitable place of CNG cylinder in the vehicle and there is no restriction on using more than one cylinder in the transport, Ghiyas Abdullah Paracha said.

A senior stalwart of Muthida Transport Federation Pakistan Sultan Awan, when contacted, said the Ogra and the MPNR have so far not fulfilled the commitments they had made with both CNG and transport associations ten months back over the matter of passengers safety in public transport.

“They (Ogra and MNPR) neither have set up workshops to train the vehicle staff nor have provided equipment to control the gas leakages and to check the installation of CNG kits etc. Even no code of conduct regarding safety has been introduced.”he said. However, he said, they (transport associations) would follow the safety measures if the government introduces any code of conduct regarding passengers’ safety.