NBSM to shut gas plants flouting safety rules

Kathmandu, January 4

The Nepal Bureau of Standards and Metrology (NBSM) - the national standard body of the government - today said that it will shut down those liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) bottling plants in the country that have not acquired the Nepal Standard (NS) certification from the government.

Citing that domestic LPG bottling plants are repeatedly defying quality and safety standards, which have posed threats of accidents, NBSM has formed a separate gas plant monitoring committee that will conduct safety and quality audits of all 53 gas bottling plants in the country from Friday.

“Gas bottlers have repeatedly defied our calls to acquire NS certification and maintain proper quality and safety standards in gas cylinders and gas plants,” said Bishwobabu Pudasaini, director general of NBSM, adding that NBSM will not tolerate any compromise on quality and safety measures as they are directly related to people's lives.

As per NBSM, only four gas bottling companies, namely Nepal Gas, Shree Krishna Gas, Manoj Gas and Sai Baba Gas, have acquired the NS certification from the government so far.

Citing that a majority of gas bottling firms in the country are operating without complying with the safety and quality standards set by the government, Pudasaini said that NBSM will start shutting operation of such gas plants from Friday itself.

According to him, Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) has been informed about the ‘aggressive' inspection of gas plants from Friday. “We will take necessary action against LPG bottling plants that have not maintained quality and safety standards in coordination with the District Administration Offices,” added Pudasaini.

The recent explosion at Super Gas (Birgunj) seems to have awakened the government lately regarding safety issues. Two people were killed and three others sustained injuries after a massive fire engulfed the Super Gas factory on December 20.

However, LPG bottlers have said that all gas bottling companies are operating as per the government standard enforced at a time when gas bottlers had obtained LPG bottling licences. “However, gas bottlers are not in a position to upgrade to the standards that the government has recently enforced as it requires gas companies to inject huge additional investment,” said Shiva Ghimire, immediate past president of Nepal LP Gas Industry Association.

According to him, the new standards enforced by the government last year requires gas bottling plants to extend their operation area and add more gas bullets, which adds financial pressure on gas companies.