The Time Bomb on Wheels We Call Public Transport

CNG Cylinder Blast in Pakistan

Recently, I saw a special news report on how transporters are fitting oxygen cylinder public transport vehicles in place of proper CNG cylinders and it really gave me the chills. According to that report, in the year 2014 alone, there were 9 incidences of oxygen cylinder blasts which claimed the lives of 23 people and left 30 people seriously injured for life.

CNG Cylinder Blast in Karachi First of all, an oxygen cylinder is NEVER meant to be used for storing CNG. They are simply not designed for this purpose, to bear the high pressure or even to carry the specific type of gas. Unfortunately, to save just a few thousand rupees, these cylinders are smuggled from across the border and installed in vehicles so that the conversion costs are minimized, but at what expense? At the expense of public’s lives who travel in these buses. This problem is a very prominent in Karachi, where thousands of people move from different places to the centre of city to work. These transporters charge the fares as if they are running their vehicles on diesel, but not a single public bus runs on diesel in the city of lights. All of them are converted to CNG with 4-6 cylinders installed in every bus. The whole country is deprived of CNG, but in Karachi, these transporters are free to burn the precious resource without giving it a second thought.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise in a country where people even adulterate infant’s milk, lifesaving drugs and anything they can in order to increase their profit margins. To put a final nail in the coffin, these public transport vehicles have multiple (oxygen) cylinders, with the worst weld you can ever imagine (one way to spot these cylinders, is to check the weld joining them). If the cylinder doesn’t blast due to high pressure, the leak from the weld is surely going to ignite a fire sooner or later. Shamefully enough, all of this is being done right under the nose of the regulating authorities, who purposely turn a blind eye towards this practice in exchange for some “Chai Pani” (bribe and monetary benefits) from the transport mafia. Who is at loss here? The public! Who will pay the price with their lives? The public!

Our people are to be blamed as well. They are quick to protest against any vice in the society, why not this? Why do they travel on these transport vehicles when they know that any trip could well be their very last? If the people protest against these vehicles, report it up to authorities and mount sufficient pressure, the (corrupt) officials would be forced to take action against these transporters. Personally, I would recommend people to drag the transporters on the roads for this heinous crime; simply giving a fine won’t do enough. After all lives are at stake here which is not a joke.

The authorities are also requested to take a reality pill. What you people are ignoring purposely or not, is causing the deaths of people. You may sleep well at night, but if God forbids, the next victim is your own flesh and blood, then you would understand the pain of the people that are affected by incidences related to cylinder blasts in public transport vehicles. Please enforce the rules properly and get rid of these vehicles from the streets before they claim any more unfortunate souls.

Mujtaba Abbas

In a parallel world, Mujtaba a.k.a MJ is an avid Environmentalist and a Public Servant. In this realm he is a die hard automotive enthusiast who seeks to create awareness in the minds of the readers and sincerely believes "Tabdeeli aanay hi waali hai :P

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