Mr Speaker, I also beg to express my deepest sorrows and condolences to the bereaved families, and indeed, to the injured who are hospitalised.
Mr Speaker, we are told that, since the year 2014, there have been eight of such incidents relating to gas explosions in the country. We are being economical with the truth. Why did they use the year 2014 as the base year?
Let us start from the year 2000, and I know that at least, there were three major incidents of gas explosions in Kumasi. They are not talking about that. Why are they using the year 2014 as the base year, and who stated the 2014 as the year, and everybody is feeding into it that we have had only eight incidents since the year
If we start from the year 2000, nationwide, it would be over 50 of such major incidents.
Mr Speaker, on 3rd June, 2016 when this incident happened, we came to this House and contributed to a Statement made on the floor in respect of what happened, the Hon Deputy Majority Leader, the Hon Sarah Adwoa Safo, in her contribution
made a candid statement, and I would want to quote it.
Mr Speaker, this can be seen in column 1085 of the Friday, 3rd June, 2016 Official Report. She said among other things, and I beg to quote her:
“go round the country and you would realise that many filling stations are springing up in residential areas, and the question you ask yourself is: “what are the authorities doing”? You see a filling station sandwiched between two residential homes and in the event of a spill, Mr Speaker, only God knows what would happen.”
Mr Speaker, we see these things play out year in, year out. The Hon John Jinapor informed us about statistics that indicated that, 35 per cent of burnt cases at Kole Bu Teaching Hospital are gas induced.
Mr Speaker, what is required is a massive education that would get to our people.
Mr Speaker, 600 authorised gas stations are known to the system, but there are some that are not even registered which are operating. There are some gas stations which are not certified but they are operating. Do the authorities know about that? We should be careful as a nation, knowing how combustible gas is.
Mr Speaker, the Hon former Minister for Power, the Hon Dr Kwabena Donkor has told us that indeed, we have adequate laws and regulations. Yes, we have laws and regulations, but how we implement them is the problem.
Mr Speaker, within the District Assemblies, there are the people, together
with others who are faceless, responsible for what they term as “re-zoning”, and they locate these stations within residential areas with all the impunity. They are the people responsible.
Mr Speaker, the Town and Country Planning Department that is supposed to provide the masterplan, has now been put in the bowels of the District Assembly. People, with respect, who do not have the competence now, supervise them. So, when the technical people are telling them not to do that, the Assemblies do not comply; they do what they want.
Mr Speaker, we are talking about compliance to laws. The siting of the gas farms themselves are regulated, and it is provided that one cannot site a gas farm 500 metres from a residential settlement.
Mr Speaker, how many of them are within the residential settlement themselves? Not less than 500 metres, yet, right within the residential settlements, structures are being pulled down for the construction of gas stations. So, what is happening to us as a people?
Mr Speaker, we have regulations relating to the construction of pipes. We need to install gas leak detectors and even smoke detectors. However, when we go to many of these places, they are not there.
Mr Speaker, these licences are supposed to be renewable every year, but whether or not the bodies charged with the inspection to do it yearly do it is another matter, and whether those licensees submit themselves to inspection is also another matter.
Mr Speaker, if one listened to the account of the driver, he said that, when he was discharging, he saw the leakage and he wanted to approach the owners to see where the valve was, but they were all