Jan 26, 2022

Partially used suspected gas cylinders to be collected

The Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) today informed court that it has advised the LPG gas cylinder supplying companies namely Litro Gas and Laughs Gas Companies to accept partially used suspected gas cylinders returned by consumers.

Senior State Counsel Manohara Jayasinghe appearing for the CAA made these remarks pursuant to a writ petition filed challenging the gas companies' decision to release unsafe gas cylinders to the market was taken up before Court of Appeal.

Public interest litigation activist Nagananda Kodituwakku who filed this petition alleged that respondent parties including including gas companies have failed to implement the court order to recall partially used gas cylinders that do not conform to the Sri Lanka Standards Institution (SLSI) standards.

In reply, SSC Manohara Jayasinghe said CAA has taken steps to publish paper advertisements notifying the general public to return partially used suspected gas cylinders to the nearest distribution agents or selling agents in order to get a new gas cylinder with a price reduction, calculated as per the current market prices amounting to the gas remaining in the respective returned gas cylinders. The CAA further agreed before Court that necessary arrangements will be taken to publish this message on electronic media as well.

Court of Appeal two-judge-bench comprising Justice Ruwan Fernando and Justice Sampath Wijeratne fixed the petition for support on February 8.

Counsel who appeared on behalf of the Litro Gas Company sought a further date to support the application since his senior counsel has tested positive for Covid-19. The petitioner Nagananda Kodituwakku stressed the necessity of hearing this case as much possible since it directly affects the millions of LPG gas consumers in the country.

On December 17 last year, the Court of Appeal further issued an interim order preventing the authorities from releasing gas cylinders for the domestic use without specific standards prescribed by SLSI.

The Court of Appeal had also ordered the two gas companies not to release gas cylinders without displaying the gas composition as prescribed by SLSI. The Court had further directed the two companies display the composition of Butane and Propane in the gas cylinders as prescribed by SLSI.

General Secretary of Vinivida Peramuna Nagananda Kodituwakku filed this writ petition seeking an order directing the IGP to initiate criminal investigation against Minister Bandula Gunawardene, State Minister Lasantha Alagiyawanna, Consumer Affairs Authority Chairman and Director General of Sri Lanka Standard Institution for allegedly releasing unsafe gas cylinders to the market.

The petitioner is further seeking an order directing the authorities to formulate healthy and safety standards for LP gas cylinders.

The Petitioner states that due to sheer negligence on the part of the Consumer Affairs Authority Chairman D.M.S. Dissanayaka and Director General of Sri Lanka Standard Institution Siddhika Senarathne some consumers who use the LP gas cylinders have suffered physical injury and damage to their private properties due to the explosions caused by leakage of gas from the unsafe gas cylinders which were only meant to withstand the pressure generated by the composition of Butane 80% and Propane 20%.

The Petitioner states that these explosions occur on daily basis with no corrective measures taken by the Respondents to arrest the situation.