Testing of CNG cylinders taking four days on average

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Karachi - Given the massive turning up of vehicles, the only officially authorised facility for testing of CNG cylinders in the city, has been taking four days on an average these days to certify a CNG-fitted vehicle if its Compressed Natural Gas filling cylinder had gone beyond the five-year safe utility period.

As numerous CNG station owners continue with their protest drive and shut down of their businesses against the existing prices of the cheaper fuel commodity, at some of the few functioning CNG pumps in the city the vehicle owners are being turned away and not being served on the excuse that the CNG cylinder fitted in their vehicles do not comply with the mandatory certification requirement after the five-year safe usage period.

 

At some of such fuel stations, the ‘unqualified’ vehicles are being turned away and not provided the CNG filling service, after their occupants waited for hours in massive queues of four-wheelers waiting for their turn to get the scarcely available CNG in the city.

The concerned CNG consumers have been of the considered opinion that fuel station owners have invoked this compulsory gas cylinder testing rule, imposed after the five-year usage of CNG kit, at a time of their own choice and sheer benefit. At the existing lowered CNG prices, the CNG fuel station owners do not want to do business at all or at best when they are compelled to open their filling station by the administration, they want to serve the minimum possible number of vehicles in order to tightly keep their gas bills under control and other operational costs.

 

“I’m now being turned away without CNG gas as it has been found out by the petrol pump’s staff that CNG cylinder in my car was fitted in 2006 and it now requires mandatory certification from the testing laboratory,” said Sabir Hussain waiting in the afternoon the other day with his Suzuki car in a massive queue of vehicles outside the only Malir Cantonment CNG filling station. “I bought this 1300 cc car some 16 months back and at that time there was no requirement in practice to check the certification of CNG cylinders in vehicles after five-year usage period so at the time of buying the vehicle I did not bother to verify how much old was the CNG cylinder fitted in the vehicle,” he said. “Now I’m being turned away without CNG and being advised to get the certification for gas cylinder for my vehicle,” said the annoyed car owner of Malir Cantt area.

 

Several other CNG-fitted vehicles met the same fate at the Malir Cantt’s petrol pump as they were required to get CNG cylinder’s certificate from the only officially authorised testing laboratory in the Korangi Creek area, for the purpose.

 

Here where comes further tragic twist to the tale, at Korangi Creek, near Pakistan Refinery, is situated the only CNG cylinders’ testing laboratory run by the Hydrocarbon Development Institute of Pakistan. “On an average 80 to 90 vehicles have been coming daily to our facility to get their CNG cylinder tested and due to such heavy turning up of vehicles, we take on an average four days to test and certify a single cylinder,” said an official of the Hydrocarbon Institute in Karachi when contacted over phone by ill-fated CNG vehicle owners of Malir Cantt. “Previously the testing time period was much lower due to less number of vehicles coming for the purpose,” he said.

 

“We provide service from Monday to Friday and it is better for you to reach our laboratory complex before 10am during weekdays in order to avoid waiting in queue of vehicles,” he said. “But rest assured that your motor vehicle could be switched over to petrol once its CNG cylinder was detached for testing, so you could drive back to your home,” said the official of the Hydrocarbon Development Institute.

 

It is another problem that old cars constantly being run on CNG frequently show signs of faulty and irregular operations of engine once they are suddenly subjected to petrol consumption and this mainly happens due to unclean and unfit status of carburetor in engines of such older model vehicles.

 

Habib-ur-Rehman, the Karachi’s General-Manager of the Hydrocarbon Development Institute of Pakistan, said that majority of the CNG cylinders of NZS-5454-1989 standard and brought to his laboratories for testing, proved to be fit and worthy for further use due to longer life of the cylinders.

 

He said that the vehicle cylinders that were found to be unfit for CNG filling, were immediately discarded by his laboratories and in case the concerned vehicle owner insist upon taking with him the discarded cylinder, then at least a part was kept with the institute as record for reference purpose in future.

 

He said that apart from the laboratories complex, a few privately-run centres in the city were engaged in testing of CNG cylinders but that were not allowed by the Oil & Gas Regulatory Authority but given permission by the department of explosives.

 

“I do not subscribe to the notion that this CNG cylinder testing requirement is now being used to further annoy the vehicle owners who have been waiting in long queues to get the CNG’s filling,” said Malik Khuda Bux, chief of the CNG Station Owners’ Association.

 

“Practically speaking the CNG cylinder testing requirement is not applicable these days when filling stations witness massive queues of vehicles and if any fuel station has been observing this requirement then it could be quite difficult and cumbersome task for their staff,” he said.

 

Khuda Bux said that majority of CNG stations were reopened from Thursday morning after the 24 hours of official gas shut down period, as CNG business owners had been assured of near future announcement and imposition of revised CNG retail prices at the public hearing of Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority on the CNG prices, held the other day in the city. He hoped that new CNG retail prices would commensurate with gas, electricity bills, and other operational expenditures of the CNG stations.

 

New gas shut down

 

While CNG and fuel stations in the city continue to witness massive queues of waiting vehicles to fill up gas, the Sui Southern Gas Company announced on Friday a further official shut down of CNG stations in Sindh for 24 hours period from the midnight 12am of Friday-Saturday till midnight 12am of Saturday-Sunday. That means CNG supply in the region would not be available on daylong basis on Saturday (today).

 

The SSGC announcement said that in this connection the CNG stations found operative during this official shut down period would have their gas supply disconnected for another 24 hours.

 

Last time, the SSGC had curtailed its 48 hours official CNG shut down period in the region to 24 hours and announced to reopen CNG stations from 9am Thursday last.

 

 

Courtesy:  The News


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