Saturday, December 31, 2011

Oppressed and oppressor -- of dogs and dogs
While studying  WWII  in my military history  classes, there were two questions I could not find a satisfactory answer:
1- Why Hitler let Dunkirk withdrawal to happen? and let go 220,000 British and 112,000 French soldiers rather eliminating or capturing them to get absolute victory once he could.
2- Why Japan was nuked, once evil were Hitlers and Germans?
These events  may look irrelevant to what I am going to say about my Pakistan, but just wanted to start in this way.
Starting with just one aspect of recent CNG crises; In a TV program 'News Night with Talat' where he was interviewing few taxi drivers and effect of CNG crises on them. He was told that they were charging more than the double fare on CNG-off days,  even they were driving only on CNG filled a night before.
Who is oppressed and who is the oppressor here? Taxi driver is not looting the policy makers and corrupt politicians rather a common man who is in dire need and is blackmailed to pay double the cost (which is unjustified even in case taxi driver runs on Patrol as cost difference between Patrol and CNG which was 30% is further reduced to 15% due to recent price hike). Strike by transporters against this CNG price hike will effect who? drivers, transport workers, or common man? or all of them? But one thing is for sure that  transport tycoons, policymakers, bureaucrats, and politicians would not be affected at all.
Whenever there is some strike on call of a political party or trader's group; who is affected? only the shop owners and common men.
Once some 'angry mob' burns the motorcylces or rickshaws they actually starve a family who is even more oppressed.
In election, many of the workers give their lives in battle for votes, whereas the elected member happily joins hands with other party and become lota (لوٹا  )without even asking them. Why they be bothered, they are dead anyway.
Some teachers in government schools make sure that no one from their students should rise to success. This is the revenge of a middle class teacher from his fellow middle class parents. The teacher is ready the further suck the blood under the name of tuition or academy.
Now I would try to relate from where I started; Hitler never wanted to eliminate English or French, after all they shared the same race and skin, whereas Japanese were some other race. Both safeguarded each other's prime interests and lives at cost of everybody else in the world. Same thing is happening in Pakistan, oppressed and oppressor belong to the same group and clan --- the middle and poor class of Pakistan. Who become instrument to their lords and alternately play the role, whereas the 'lords' and 'waderas' remain intact in the secret but filthy brotherhood. There is a not-so-nice proverb in Punjabi 'کتا کتے دا ویری (dog is worst enemy of a dog). Who is this dog, is it by race or have become so after receiving doggy treatment for centuries. Bitter words but could not find anything less which could justify the state.
Unlike my previous blogs, I would not suggest any solutions or way out. who is bothered? who wants them to rise? not me who is sitting in a cozy lounge in front of a nice computer, taking sips of coffee made by my cook and my kids study in posh private schools.

Friday, December 9, 2011

CNG Cylinders or Live Bombs?

Following few of the news items, I was really scared about increased frequency of CNG cylinder blasts resulting into tragic loss of precious lives.  OGRA has recently blacklisted 18 firms from providing CNG cylinders. But is this the only reason for these sad happenings?
If one had followed the pattern, almost all CNG accidents are related to commercial transport. Hazards can be identified as under:
 Exposed cylinder as in small loader vehicles, the cylinder is placed on a frame ontop of driver's cabin; the cylinder and pipes are fully exposed to weather and prone to physical damage even in case of minor accidents.
Cylinders under the passenger seats; passengers are likely to un-intentionally fiddle with the delicate high pressure gas pipe fitting as it is directly under them. Internal leakage and ciggerte is sure recipe for big disaster.
Greed; transporters would happily buy sub-strandered, expired and damaged cylinders to save the bucks.
More gas more pressure; to gain extra milage, transported would fit multiple cylenders in most wierd and dangerous way. more so they would join hands with CNG station owners to fill the gas at higher pressure (more than 200 bars).
 Lets enumerate various contributory  factors:
Increased prices of Deisel forced commercial commuters to convert to CNG. but the benefit is not transferred to public. Rents remained the same as transporters say that they had to cover the cost of conversion. Secondly, public was left in agony due to absence of local transport on CNG-OFF days, once their day is ON.
Transporters never comply to any regulations regarding safety and fitness of their vehicles. Our nation has seen the transporter is always the winner as he is decision maker (most of the transport sector is owned by politicians, who would save their interests even at the cost of major government institutions like Pakistan Railway ) and executive (Taxis and local transport is mostly owned/patronized by Police authorities)
 Conversion of  Industry, power sector, and transport to CNG - is it a good decision?
Converting to alternate means is done either to reduce the cost or cover the shortage. In case of CNG, it was due to high price of petroleum products. Converting into CNG was immediate and clear saving, but if the alternate is reasonably cheaper then the result will be total conversion to alternative, irrespective of any regulatory authority. And if the alternate is not sufficient enough to fulfill the demand then its shortage would increase its cost at parity with the main source; bringing users back to square one. That has just happened with us in the CNG sector. The 'bonus loss' was heavy investment in terms of CNG station, selling of CNG licences and cost of CNG kits; not to mention safety hazards due to crippled and dis-functional regulatory authorities.
An other interesting [alarming] development in this regard is that the CNG associations want to put a ban on CNG in private cars thereby promoting CNG only vehicles in commercial sector.
So what should be done:
1. Potent regulatory authority, enforcing safety of fitting and regular inspections.
2- Sufficient number of Labs to test gas cylinders.
3- Civic sense; if it could make some difference.