Sri Lanka’s new time bombs, panic among people

Continuous explosion of cooking gas cylinders in Sri Lanka is creating a huge panic among people. Four more explosions have been reported from Padukka, Hanwella, Hatton and Ja-Ela areas yesterday (29).

A woman from Diddeniya said that a gas cylinder she had brought to her house had connected to the gas stove and exploded shortly afterwards. No one was injured in the accident.

Meanwhile, a gas pipe connected to a gas stove at a restaurant at Arukwatta in Padukka has exploded. Also, a similar explosions were reported at a another restaurant in Hatton and a house at Tudella area.

In the past month, five incidents of gas explosions had been reported raising safety concerns among families. All the explosion was suspected to be caused by a gas leak.

Litro Gas company Marketing Director Janaka Pathiratne denied that the composition of the gas could be the cause for the explosions.

The new cylinder had a higher ratio of propane gas, with 50% propane. The company claimed the new hybrid cylinder was highly fuel efficient and safe, but previously it had a composition of 70% butane and 30% propane. Litro is a main supplier of the market and it supplied around four million cylinders a month.

However, propane gas has lover boiling point (-42°C) and highly flammable than butane gas (-2°C), so increasing propane composition may cause explosion, Dr. R. Prabaharan, research and technology manager from UK said to the Quest.

Propane will continue to vaporise in colder climates. As propane functions well in lower temperatures, it is usually used for outdoor use. Butane is typically used indoors due to its higher boiling point.

They are filled with gas held at high pressure and, if a cylinder discharges there are likely to be serious consequences, therefore it is a company responsible to make more secured cylinders. In Sri Lanka, Government, government departments and companies are more corrupted, we cannot expect good quality cylinders from them. People must take extra care when using gas cylinders he added.

Opposition Activist Kanishka Lanerolle alleged the standards of the gas cylinders have been lowered and in six months, the government has failed to impose a fixed standard for gas in Sri Lanka.

Leaky gas valves following a hazardous change in its butane-propane composition to increase profitability and collusion between Litro Gas and Laugfs Gas are blamed for these explosions.

 

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