50:50 butane-to-propane ratio upends usual 80:20 ratio
Ex-Litro Chair Koswatte accused of misinformation on composition
By Pamodi WaravitaFollowing claims that the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) informed the Trade Ministry and the Co-operative Services, Marketing Development, and Consumer Protection State Ministry of proof of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cylinders of Litro Gas Lanka Ltd. and Laugfs Gas PLC containing dangerously high levels of propane, the Trade Ministry told The Morning yesterday (29) that a report on the matter has been requested from the CAA.“Litro Gas Lanka Ltd. introduced a new 18-litre LPG cylinder to the market recently. We tested the samples from that and the 12.5 kg gas cylinder of both Litro Gas Lanka Ltd. and Laugfs Gas PLC, and have found that they contain a 50:50 ratio composition of butane and propane. This is dangerous for domestic use, and we are therefore concerned about the safety of the public. The usual composition is 80% of butane and 20% of propane. We have informed the relevant ministries regarding the matter,” CAA Executive Director Thushan Gunawardena told The Morning yesterday. Trade Ministry Secretary Bhadrani Jayawardena told The Morning that a report on the matter has been requested from the CAA by the Co-operative Services, Marketing Development, and Consumer Protection State Ministry.Litro Gas Lanka Ltd. Chairman Theshara Jayasinghe also told The Morning yesterday that while the gas composition of the 12.5 kg LPG cylinder is within the Sri Lanka Standards Institute (SLSI) regulations, he has also called for a report from the marketing, production, and compliance teams of Litro Gas Lanka Ltd. about the exact composition. The CAA alleged that the new 50:50 composition was introduced under the tenure of former Litro Gas Lanka Ltd. Chairman Anil Koswatte.It was also learnt that the SLSI only regulates the physical cylinder and not the gas composition within it. Attempts to contact the SLSI Chairman proved futile.Further, it was also learnt that Litro Gas Lanka Ltd. had previously misled the CAA by claiming that the composition of a 12.5 kg LPG cylinder is 80:20 in terms of the butane-to-propane ratio. However, test results and scientific studies by the CAA have proven otherwise. Therefore, the CAA is currently considering legal action with the Attorney General’s Department over this deliberate misinformation provided by Litro Gas Lanka Ltd. Meanwhile, Jayasinghe told The Morning this week that the controversial 18-litre LPG cylinder, introduced to the market in April this year, will be phased out of the market within the next two months. Responding to this, Gunawardena said that while that is a good thing, it is vital that the issue of the hazardous composition of the gas is also addressed immediately. Meanwhile, an extraordinary gazette was issued on 25 July, revising the maximum retail price of the 18-litre/9.6 kg LPG cylinder, according to each province. LPG firms were also instructed to display the weight of the cylinder in kg, thus allowing consumers to make an informed choice.