CNG cylinder blasts are not something that can be entirely blamed on the government while the public plays the innocent victim. In fact, such explosions — the latest blast in Karachi on Sunday took two lives — are very much of the people’s own making. They are mostly the result of greed, disregard for safety and a general disrespect for life. They can hardly be attributed to the lack of a public-awareness campaign. The frequent explosions are loud enough in themselves to remind the public of the dangers posed by faulty CNG kits. CNG stations have to prominently display a notice refusing gas to the drivers of those vehicles that do not carry certificates declaring that their gas kits are in working order. There has been no let-up in official and media reminders about the urgency of a CNG kit examination. Aside from private hands — some of them competent, others adept only at complicating matters — there is the Hydrocarbon Development Institute of Pakistan that requires these kits to be examined every five years and has its own designated inspection centres. At around Rs500 per kit the job doesn’t entail too high a price. It is criminal how vehicle owners ignore all these warnings at such huge risk to life and limb.
Of course the government can be asked to set up more examination centres and expedite their working. It also has a responsibility to haul up all those vehicles fitted with all kinds of improvised and unfit CNG cylinders and find effective ways to punish their users. At the same time, for their own sake, the citizens must look around and help in the identification of lawbreakers. Provided that everyone is willing to come out of their false security zones and get their kits checked, many precious lives may yet be saved.