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Government warns gas companies with closure

23 Dec 2021

  • Will not hesitate to shut them down if they continue to disregard consumer safety: Lasantha
  • Promises implementation of long-term recommendations within 3 months
  BY Pamodi Waravita Co-operative Services, Marketing Development, and Consumer Protection State Minister Lasantha Alagiyawanna warned yesterday (22) that the Government will close down the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) companies if required, amidst a series of LPG-related explosions for over one-and-a-half months. “If they continue to act irresponsibly without any regard for consumer safety, we will not hesitate to shut them down,” Alagiyawanna told The Morning yesterday (22). Western Province Senior Deputy Inspector General of Police Deshabandu Tennakoon said this week that 847 domestic LPG cylinder-related incidents were reported this year, with seven deaths and 16 injuries. The Presidential Expert Committee appointed to investigate the recent LPG-related explosions has blamed the increase in the propane ratio for the explosions. Committee Chairman Prof. Shantha Walpolage confirmed that the Committee has observed this gas composition change in the samples of the related products of both the companies, Litro Gas Lanka Ltd. and Laugfs Gas PLC. Alagiyawanna added that the State Ministry will implement long-term recommendations made with regard to the LPG explosions issue in the next three months. “We have already implemented the short-term measures that have been recommended to us to ensure immediate consumer safety. Whilst that is happening, we are also heeding the recommendations given to us by the Presidential Expert Committee, government institutions such as the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA), and the Judiciary. Those recommendations will be implemented in three months to ensure the non-recurrence of such incidents.” After finalising the report, Prof. Walpolage said that the most immediate recommendations made by the Committee were to keep the propane percentage at less than 30% and to increase the level of the odourant ethyl mercaptan in the cylinders so that a gas leak is easily detectable. On 17 December, the Court of Appeal instructed Litro Gas Lanka and Laugfs Gas PLC to only distribute LPG cylinders which are in compliance with the regulations put forth by the Sri Lanka Standards Institute (SLSI). The SLSI said on Monday (20) that the composition must be 30:70 (propane:butane) within a gas cylinder. Technology Ministry Secretary and Presidential Committee appointed to investigate LPG-related incidents Co-ordinator Jayantha De Silva said on Monday that from the three ships carrying new stocks of LPG to Litro Gas Lanka, two are completely cleared for distribution as they meet the required standards for the gas composition and ethyl mercaptan. One ship has been banned from distribution due to the stocks not having the correct level of ethyl mercaptan. Presidential Expert Committee Member Prof. (Retd.) W.D.W. Jayathilake also claimed that Geo Chem Lanka (Pvt.) Ltd., the private lab testing the samples of the State’s Litro Gas Lanka, had admitted to the use of an expired gas sample for Litro Gas Lanka’s reports attesting to the maintenance of the proper gas ratio. The Presidential Expert Committee has made over 25 long-term recommendations to all institutions and companies related to the industry, including the CAA, the Industrial Technology Institute (ITI), the Sri Lanka Accreditation Board for Conformity Assessment (SLAB), and the SLSI.  

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