Thursday, May 23, 2019 | ePaper

Deadly gas pipe line blasts: Who will take responsibility?

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THE gas line explosion that killed two garment workers and injured six others in a residential block in Narayanganj on early Monday is not an isolated incident, rather an explicit exposure of the danger of derelict, faulty and illegal gas connections and substandard gas burner uses. We observe that incidents of gas pipe explosion are becoming frequent as city's gas distribution pipelines has become old through the decades and subject to careless handling by various construction works. Surely a good part of more than 10,000 km of gas distribution network of Titas has become very old. But more importantly, the city now has more buildings that demand installing various utility systems including electrical cables over the gas pipelines, posing serious danger.
In 2014, findings showed that some 12,000 illegal gas connections had been given in nine unions of Sonargaon Upazila under Narayanganj district. Using illegal gas connections under the supervision of political clouts has become rampant in Narayanganj and some other parts of the country where law enforcers seldom conducted drives against the illegal activities. These illegal lines were being laid using substandard pipes and without the right technical support.
Although Titas Gas officials conduct drives once in a while to sever these lines, unfortunately the problem is that there are unscrupulous people within the State-owned gas company itself who are involved in the racket. Fingers have repeatedly been pointed at political elements associated with the ruling party that apparently manage the syndicates behind illegal connections. Such associations obviously enjoy a high degree of immunity by the law enforcement agencies. But the result of inaction brings disaster to the people being victimized to the fire-related accidents, often with fatalities.
Nobody knows how long the authority will allow the illegal activities to continue. The illegal gas connections are not about the loss of government revenue rather it poses deadly danger and catastrophe. We believe mere publicity campaigns will never earn desired outcome. This is a criminal offence and it must be dealt with strong hand.

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