Probe into LP gas cylinder fires - State Minister | Sunday Observer
Report to be presented in Parliament tomorrow

Probe into LP gas cylinder fires - State Minister

28 November, 2021

State Minister of Cooperative Services, Marketing Development and Consumer Protection, Lasantha Alagiyawanna said the recent incidents of explosions and fires linked to gas cylinders are being investigated and a comprehensive report on the findings will be presented in Parliament tomorrow, November 29.

He said steps have been taken to improve the safety features of gas cylinders and called upon consumers not to panic. Responding to a question raised in Parliament by Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa yesterday, State Minister Alagiyawanna said that there is a problem, but assured consumers that all steps have been taken to ensure the safety features in gas cylinders. The Opposition Leader said there had been at least seven recent instances of explosions and fires in homes and eateries linked to faulty gas cylinders.

Premadasa told the House that there is a growing fear among consumers who have raised serious concerns which the Government has failed to respond to so far.

“Therefore, we need a comprehensive report from the Government backed by technical and scientific data to reassure consumers.” The State Minister said that until recently no study had been carried out on the safety of the use of gas.

He said the accidents linked to gas cylinders take place every year.

There were 23 such incidents from 2015 to 2021 which were recorded by Laugfs Gas, each of which was investigated. It had been found that the causes for the accidents were mainly due to use of low-quality equipment, keeping the cylinder inside pantry cupboards or in places with low ventilation or human error and using kerosene or lighting a fire near cylinders.

Alagiyawanna said there were serious questions of consumer protection in the country, and these were being addressed by the newly formed Ministry under him.

He said, “At present goods are imported to the country under 7,800 HS Codes but only 1,200 are checked for quality. Therefore, the Ministry is working with the Customs Department to ensure that all imported goods are checked, and that low quality goods don’t come into the country.”

Referring to the explosion and fire at a fast-food restaurant in Colombo which was linked to a gas leak, the State Minister said that all gas cylinders used by the four restaurants in the building were outside and the accident had been caused as one of the cylinders had been left open which had led to a fire.

State Minister Alagiyawanna told the media on Thursday that all local and international institutions conducting laboratory tests on the composition of domestic LP gas cylinders will be registered within the next two weeks.

The sudden explosions caused by gas leaks are taking place at a time when LP gas distributors are being accused of changing the composition of domestically used LP gas. However, Sri Lanka’s largest LP gas distributor Litro Gas Lanka denied the allegations against them on Wednesday. They said that domestic LP gas cylinders have been filled complying with international standards and the cylinders are strong enough to prevent the gas tanks from exploding or gas leaking.