Make CPC Report Public

CEYLON TODAY | Published: 2:00 AM Dec 7 2021

Yesterday, another allegedly LPG (cooking gas) victim, this time from Matale, died, taking the death toll from such accidents to two, together with three injuries and damages to several houses and property, including to restaurants and at least one hotel, having had been reported  since 4 November.

In connection with these accidents, this newspaper in its editorial of Wednesday (1 December), to quote excerpts said, ‘Opposition and SJB MP Nalin Bandara Jayamaha speaking in Parliament on Monday (29 November) said, tests carried out by the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) in relation to LPG accidents showed that they were due to the change in composition of the LPG. 

Jayamaha therefore requested the Government to make the contents of this CPC report public. Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila under whose purview the CPC comes, in reply, however said that such a report cannot be made public as the report had been compiled at the behest of the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA). Complementing these developments, Cabinet Spokesman Dullas Alahapperuma on 30 November said that there is a report on recent LP gas accidents out and that its contents, together with other reports such as that which is being compiled by Moratuwa University will be made public on 2 December. 

But 2 December has come and gone and none of the two reports, including the Moratuwa University report, which Alahapperuma promised would be made public by then, has neither materialised, nor yet to be materialised by yesterday (6 December), i.e. even after the lapse of four days from Alahapperuma’s promised date.

The allegation is that the reason behind those recently reported LPG related accidents is that the usual LPG composition had been changed from 20 per cent propane to 80 per cent butane (20:80), to 50:50 recently.

In related developments, Parliament, on its website, in an article also dated Wednesday and titled, ‘A special meeting of the Ministerial Consultative Committee on Trade held to obtain views of several parties regarding the explosion of gas cylinders,’ to quote excerpts said, ‘A special meeting of the Ministerial Consultative Committee on Trade was held in Parliament on 1 December (Wednesday) to seek views and solutions of several parties regarding the sudden gas cylinder explosions which took place a few days ago.

The Ministerial Consultative Committee met under the chairmanship of Trade Minister Dr. Bandula Gunawardana and State Minister Lasantha Alagiyawanna. Among those who were included in the Committee was Petroleum expert Nimal de Silva,’ it said. 

Meanwhile, a ‘daily,’ quoting the aforementioned Nimal de Silva, in an article published yesterday under the heading ‘Like tying a time bomb to the leg of a housewife,’ to give excerpts of de Silva’s opinion, said, “If the LPG (cooking gas) composition, i.e. butane to propane, is made 50:50, there is almost a 50 per cent increase in pressure at Sri Lankan temperatures. That means that the gas cylinder valve and the washer cannot hold this pressure. 

All other components in the market, such as the hose and the regulator are designed to withstand a composition of 30:70, propane to butane pressure.

When the Media inquired from de Silva, whether LPG companies have mentioned  that they do not trust CPC’s Sapugaskanda lab facilities, can the test results from Sapugaskanda be trusted, his answer was, “Yes, definitely. Why not? Sapugaskanda has been there for a long time.”

Q: CPC is said to have sent their results to Moratuwa University which will compile a report.  Have you seen the report?  Was this discussed at the consultative committee meeting in Parliament last week?

A: No, that was not shown to me at the consultative committee meeting. It also was not at all productive or useful as it was just politicians who spoke the most. Experts, including me, only got a small chance to present our views. I do not think it was a useful exercise.

Therefore, for the good of the public and for their safety, including their houses and property, the Government should make the CPC report public at their earliest, as early as today, as that report is already out so that the public could take immediate remedial measures to protect themselves and their properties as the Government is pussyfooting to fulfil their mandate.

CEYLON TODAY | Published: 2:00 AM Dec 7 2021

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