Government to conduct safety audit of cooking gas plants

  • Panel formed to monitor safety standards in gas bottling plants

Kathmandu, December 21

Following yesterday’s blaze at the Super Gas factory in Birgunj that claimed the lives of two persons and destroyed property worth millions, the government has decided to conduct safety audit of all liquefied petroleum gas bottling plants in the country.

The Ministry of Supplies has decided to form a technical committee under the coordination of Karuna Chhetri, head of Quality Control and Investigation Department at Nepal Oil Corporation, to monitor safety standards in gas bottling firms in the country. The panel includes Chief of LPG Department at NOC Deepak Baral, engineers Rajiv Raj Sharma and Pralayankar Acharya, and a representative from the Nepal Bureau of Standards and Metrology.

Sushil Bhattarai, acting deputy managing director of NOC, said the committee was formed in accordance with a decision taken at NOC board meeting held last evening. “The blaze at Super Gas factory has revealed that the safety status in LPG bottling plants across the country may not be up to the mark. The committee will first investigate the real cause behind the accident at Super Gas and then inspect safety and security status of each gas bottling plant in the country,” he added. According to NOC, there are 53 LPG bottling companies in operation in the country.

Bhattarai added that the committee had been directed to submit a safety status report of LPG bottling plants to the board of NOC at the earliest.

Meanwhile, NOC and MoS officials have stressed the need to develop a separate mechanism to monitor safety status of the country’s petroleum industry. As NOC basically deals with fuel trading, MoS officials said it had not been able to keep tabs on lapses in the petroleum sector.

“We don’t have hard and fast safety standards for the petroleum industry though petroleum and LPG dealers have been directed to practice safety standards prescribed by Indian Oil Corporation. As trading of petroleum products is a sensitive issue, the industry needs a separate operation and safety guideline and there has to be a separate mechanism to monitor lapses in the industry,” said an MoS official seeking anonymity.

According to the official, MoS will take necessary decision regarding safety concerns about the petroleum industry according to recommendations in the report submitted by the recently formed probe committee of the government.