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CAA pushes for new legislation to regulate LPG composition in cylinders



‘Lives of consumers should not be endangered’

By Suresh Perera

A top level Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) team met with Attorney General Sanjay Rajaratnam last week to discuss the scope of enacting legislation to regulate the composition of Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) in existing cylinders and new products introduced to the market.

The move comes in the backdrop of the controversy over Litro Gas Lanka launching a new 18-litre product, which was described as a “violation of consumer laws”.

Despite the weight being reduced by three kilograms, the domestic 9.18 kg hybrid cylinder was priced Rs. 1,395 – a mere one hundred rupees less than the regular 12.5-kilogram cylinder.

“The butane and propane composition in cooking gas should be regulated for public safety”, says Thushan Gunawardena, CAA’s Executive Director.

It should be ensured that gas companies don’t endanger the lives of consumers by changing the composition for profiteering by ignoring possible risk factors of increasing propane in the composition, he said.

“We have sought to regulate the composition of LPG domestic cylinders under Section 18 of the CAA Act”, he told The Sunday Island.

Stressing on the immediate need for legal clout to “mitigate the risk factors typically associated with LPG composition”, Gunawardena has already written to CAA Chairman, Major General (Rtd) D. M. Shantha Dissanayaka, with copies to the President’s office, AG’s Department and State Minister Lasantha Alagiyawanna, calling for new laws to adequately scrutinize the LPG sector’s manufacturing process.

He said the Sri Lanka Standards Institution (SLSI) has received complaints that cylinder valves are leaking due to the composition change. This could pose a serious hazard and possible loss of life, if true.

Under Section 7 (a), the objects of the CAA shall be “to protect consumers against the marketing of goods or the provision of services which are hazardous to life and property of consumers”, Gunawardena further says in his letter.

“Therefore, we need to formally engage the SLSI to publish the required LPG standards as per Act No. 6 of 1984 and adopt the standard under Section 12 (2) of the CAA Act and publish a gazette informing adoption of the standard set by SLSI”, he continued.

“If we don’t take action to enact new regulations for the LPG sector to adequately scrutinize the manufacturing process, we are in contravention of the CAA Act for inaction by virtue as per in section 12 (1) & (2) of the Act”, he pointed out.

The composition of LPG in other countries is regulated. However, the composition varies from country to country and is generally decided by the climatic conditions, the CAA Executive Director explained, while adding that “we need to scientifically get the composition from SLSI or a similar institution for the best composition for Sri Lanka for propane+ and butane percentages that forms LPG”.

As far as available data shows, a propane rich mixture is used only in cold countries and a butane rich mixture is more suitable for tropical countries like Sri Lanka. According to reports, butane has a higher fuel value than propane and makes it ideal for domestic use as a propane rich mixture carries a risk during handing, Gunawardena noted.

On Wednesday, an extraordinary gazette notification was issued under the CAA Act No. 09 of 2003 directing all manufacturers and traders of LPG to ensure that adequate quantities of 12.5kg domestic cylinders are available for sale at all outlets island-wide.

“No trader who has in his possession or custody or under his control 12.5kg LPG cylinders shall refuse to sell or in any manner directly or indirectly compel consumers not to purchase such cylinders”, it warned.

Asked what prompted the special direction, Gunawardena said the CAA has received more than one thousand complaints so far about the non-availability of 12.5kg domestic cylinders in the marketplace.

What is the use of the CAA if it cannot do its job of regulating the market?, he queried. “A regulator serves no purpose if the system is allowed to be manipulated”.

“We need to push for a directive to prohibit the sale of 18-litre cylinders”, he emphasized.

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MP’s wife, father-in-law among three detained



Rishad held under PTA to be questioned

16-year-old girl’s death:

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Police investigating the death of 16-year-old Ishalini, the domestic servant at All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC) leader Rishad Bathiudeen’s Baudhaloka Mawatha residence have arrested Ayesha Shiabdeen, 46, the wife of the former minister.

Police also took into custody Rishad’s father-in-law Mohammed Shiabdeen, 70, and Ponnaiah Pandaram alias Shankar, 64, a resident of Dayagama.

Police Spokesman Senior DIG Ajith Rohana said that Shankar had brought Ilashini from Dayagama to the Baudhaloka Mawatha residence of Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) Vanni District lawmaker late last year.

Having studied the post postmortem report, they were taken into custody in terms of Section 360 C and Section 308 B of the Penal Code that dealt with human trafficking and cruelty to children, the top police officer said. According to him, so far 20 statements had been recorded.

Asked whether MP Bathiudeen, too, had been among the questioned, Senior DIG Rohana said the parliamentarian detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) over 2019 Easter Sunday carnage, too, would be interrogated in that regard.

The ACMC contested the last general election on the SJB ticket. It switched its allegiance to the SJB ahead of 2020 general election after having represented the cabinet in UNP led yahapalana administration. Rishad has also served President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s cabinet during his second term.

Having suffered serious burn injuries on July 3 at the MP’s residence and admitted to the National Hospital, Illashini succumbed to her injuries on July 15th. Medical examination revealed that she had been raped over a period of time.

The police spokesman said that they intended to secure court approval to detain the suspects for 72 hours. A Superintendent of Police could obtain such approval on the strength of a B report submitted to the court in respect of offenses on children.

Although, the police indicated earlier in the day they would be produced in Colombo Magistrate court they weren’t brought in.

Meanwhile, the SJB said that interested parties were making a despicable attempt to politicize the incident. The police should be allowed to conduct the investigation without interference, a spokesman for the main Opposition party said.


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Women’s organisations in North conduct protests demanding justice for Ilashini



A section of those engaged in Jaffna protests


By Dinasena Ratugamage

Women’s organisations in the North yesterday held a number of demonstrations in Vavuniya, Mannar, Kilinochchi and Jaffna against the death of J. Ilashini, the 16 -year-old girl who died while working at SJB MP Rishad Bathiudeen’s residence.

The protesters urged authorities to ensure that investigations into the death are conducted in a transparent manner. The family of the victim should be compensated and those guilty punished, they said.

Representatives of the organisations said that if justice was not done, they would hold a massive demonstration in Tarapuram, Mannar, which Bathiudeen represents in Parliament.

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Dancer lodges complaint with police over FB post 



Police headquarters yesterday (23) said that dancer Anusha Damayanthi had lodged a complaint with the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) over a Facebook post alleging that she was running a brothel.

Police headquarters said that Damayanthi, while denying the accusation, had also brought to the CID’s notice that a minister was being accused of lambasting the Walana anti-crime strike force for carrying out the raid. Police said that an investigation was underway.

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