Unauthorised LPG cylinder trade increases risk in Sylhet

Published : 25 Sep 2021 09:00 PM | Updated : 07 Oct 2021 07:28 PM

Gas cylinder business is going on in Sylhet without any safety standard. The use of LPG cylinders in the country has increased several times in the last five years due to the closure of new gas connections in residential buildings for several years. In this way, the competition among the marketing companies has increased due to the increase in customer demand. As a result, cylinders are being sold illegally in Sylhet city without any regulation.

Most of the shops are doing this business without the certificate of explosives directorate. LP cylinders are now also available in grocery stores in the neighborhood. Many of these shops do not have trade licenses for that. Although some people do business with trade licenses, they are not allowed to sell gas cylinders. These shops do not have fire extinguishers. There is no remedy for any major accident. The risk is growing in the gas cylinder business without approval in commercial and residential areas. As a result, loss of life or any major accident can happen at any time.

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It can be seen that in different areas of Sylhet city, traders are selling gas cylinders by stockpiling them on the sidewalks in Bandarbazar, Mahajan­patti, DakshinSurma and Subhanighat areas of the city. Besides, LPG cylinders are being sold in small shops in the neighborhoods, alleys, retail markets and shops in residential areas. Most of them did not get the certificate of explosives department. Again, those who have clearance and certificate are not doing business according to the rules. Many are again doing business on the sidewalk with trade licenses from the City Corporation. There is no supervision system.

Mahajanapatti Iqbal stove house proprietor Nurul Islam Khan said, "I am doing business with the license of the Directorate of Explosives, but there are many traders in the area who are doing business without the explosives license. It is a hugely profitable business. Selling a cylinder earns Tk 100 so everyone is doing this business. Moreover, the government is levying a large amount of tax on this cylinder business. Both the seller and the government are benefiting from this business. That's why no one talks about the cylinder business everywhere.”

Mostafa Kamal, another trader from South Surma, said, "The administration should conduct operations against illegal traders and dealers should also supply cylinders in accordance with the rules."

A businessman from Mahajanpatti in the city said on condition of anonymity, "Numerous traders are doing this business without the certificate of the Explosives Directorate." Being a profitable business, everyone is involved in this business. The government levies a large amount of tax on the cylinder business. No one is talking about the cylinder business as both the seller and the government are benefiting.

According to the Sylhet Fire Service and Civil Defense Office, most of the gas cylinder distributors have fire service licenses. Most of the wholesalers did not get licenses.

Tanmoy Biswas, assistant director of the Sylhet Fire Service and Civil Defense Office, said, "It is very dangerous to trade gas cylinders without fire extinguishers and equipment." Although gas cylinder dealers do business with fire service licenses, retailers and wholesalers do business only with trade licenses.

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Under Section 69 of the Gas Cylinder Rules-2004 under the Explosives Act 1884, no more than 10 gas cylinders can be stored without a license. However, according to Section 70 of the Rules, sufficient quantity of fire extinguishers and equipment must be kept in stock for the storage of these cylinders. The LPG installation premises shall not contain any objects or equipment which may contain smoke, matches or fire. There should be no light or heat source near the storage area. However, the traders of Sylhet are not following these instructions and prohibitions. LPG cylinders are being sold in tea shops by stoves or in cigarette shops.

According to the Sylhet Explosives Directorate, explosives licenses have been obtained in the names of 47 companies in Sylhet district. Of these, about 30 licenses have been issued for ammonia gas and the licenses of more than 40 companies have been revoked. No trader with less than 40 cylinders is allowed by the Sylhet Explosives Directorate.

Sylhet Explosives Department Assistant Explosives InspectorAlim Uddin said that only Sylhet city has more gas cylinder businesses than the number approved in the entire district. "Explosive licenses are issued for a period of one year," he said. This license has to be renewed every year. In Sylhet, there are instructions to crack down on those trading in cylinder gas without an explosives license, but the crackdown is not going to be conducted due to manpower crisis.

Citizens for Good Governance (Sujan) Sylhet President Farooq Mahmud Chowdhury said, ‘The way gas cylinders are being sold freely in the neighborhoods of Sylhet is very dangerous. This can lead to fatal accidents at any time. The concerned authorities as well as businessmen and general public should be alert in this regard. All concerned including explosives directorate and fire service have to play a responsible role in monitoring the traders.

Sylhet Deputy Commissioner KaziEmdadul Islam told Bangladesh Post, "It is very dangerous to sell as many cylinders of gas as possible. Big accidents can happen at any time. Talks have been held with the director of Sylhet Explosives Directorate in this regard. A crackdown on illegal cylinder traders will be launched soon.

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