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A leaking LPG cylinder, but no help in sight

Abdul Wahab Khan | NT

Panaji: With the state under a complete lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus, a Taleigao woman and her family members were left helpless on Saturday evening following a leak in the LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) cylinder at her home, as calls made to the gas agency went unanswered.

Luckily, the fire department personnel came to her rescue and averted a major tragedy.

According to information available, a 55-year-old woman from Taleigao had obtained a refill gas cylinder of Bharat Gas on Friday after paying Rs 820 only to realise on the next day around 6 pm that the sealed cylinder was leaking and the smell spreading in her neighbourhood. The woman tried to call the gas agency but there was no response. Even the helpline numbers of the gas agency were not functioning. Finally, it was the fire personnel, who came to the rescue of the family.

According to the woman, the Bharat Gas helpline number was out of service due to the lockdown. She then attempted to reach out twice to the gas agency technician for help. However, after initially not responding to the call, the technician called back only an hour later after he received complaint from his seniors. He was also ready to exchange the cylinder.

As the smell started spreading in the surrounding, the woman’s neighbours started enquiring about the source of the smell following which the woman became panicky and called the fire department. Help was immediately sent by the department. The firefighters inspected the cylinder, which was leaking, and took it away at a deserted place thus saving lives.

On Sunday, while blaming the fire department personnel for taking away the leaking cylinder and emptying it in the open air without following protocol, the gas agency technician refused to exchange the cylinder. He was of the opinion that the gas cylinder did not leak and that the fire personnel were wrong in emptying the gas in an open surrounding.

After taking a look at the empty cylinder, the technician said that the woman was lying and that there was no possibility of a sealed refill cylinder leaking. The technician remained adamant and did not accept even the fire department personnel’s statement. On the contrary, he told the woman that as per the protocol, a leaking LPG cylinder should not be handed over to fire department but kept at home for the technician to inspect and provide another cylinder in exchange. Speaking to this daily, the woman said that the technician refused to exchange the cylinder even after he was shown all the photos and videos of the fire personnel inspecting the cylinder and authenticating the incident with neighbours.

“The pathetic service of Bharat Gas and the ignorant technician would have claimed our lives and caused casualties in the neighbourhood had I not called the fire department on time. The technician did not attend to my call when in need, he rather said I should have waited for him and kept the leaking cylinder at home for him to inspect it,” the woman said. The woman has now been asked by the agency to approach the company.

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