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Anwar Hossain
As new gas connections to residential areas are now stopped, demand for cylinder gas has gone up in the last couple of years, thus giving rise to a competition among the cylinder gas marketing companies.
It is learnt, Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) cylinder use has risen five-fold in the last four years. Many business people, who even do not have the ‘No Objection Certificate’ from the Department of Explosives (DoE), keep storing these cylinders illegally in different areas across the country.
These types of LPG cylinders are now available in all areas of the capital. Shopkeepers are keeping these cylinders besides other goods for their high demand in their shops but the majority of them do not even have trade license. These stores do not have fire extinguishers in case of unwanted accidents due to explosions that can take lives.
As per DoE information, during the previous Fiscal Year (FY), the country imported 3964728 LPG cylinders, while locally produced 114345 gas cylinders were marketed inside the country. More than 50 lakh gas cylinders have been sold.
The same information showed, 52.89 lakh LPG cylinders were during 2016-17 FY, 21.85 lakh in 2015-16 FY, and only 10 lakh in 2014-15 FY.
Even though millions of LPG cylinders are being traded, only 6000 licenses have been provided for storing LPG cylinders. Most of them even do not renew their licenses. As per the licenses, shop keepers may allow storing 40 or less cylinders, but they are storing more than hundred cylinders illegally.
In a recent drive, the Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection (DNCRP) found in Tangail district that 95 percent businessmen were trading LPG cylinders without licenses from DoE. The organization fined 15 different companies for selling such cylinders without approval.
DNCPR will conduct more drives across the country to stop illegal sale of LPG cylinders. Its director general Md Shafiqul Islam Lashkar said, according to Article 53 of Consumer Rights Protection Act, if any service provider, by negligence, irresponsibility or carelessness, damages money, health or life of a service receiver, he shall be punished with imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 (three) years, or with fine not exceeding Taka 2 (two) lakh, or both.
“We will soon conduct drives across the country, to stop illegal selling of these cylinders. In the meantime, district-level officials have been ordered to keep monitoring the market, he added.
DoE statistics showed, during last year maximum explosions occurred due to LPG cylinders. But now the authority has become concerned about the LPG cylinders.