Patna: The state government has banned the sale and use of small liquid petroleum gas cylinders in Bihar after they were found to be used by terrorists in the serial blasts at the Buddhist pilgrim town of Bodh Gaya last week.

The terrorists used 13 small LPG cylinders to trigger blasts at Mahabodhi temple and the surrounding area which did not cause serious damage to the world heritage site.

The decision to ban the sale of small LPG cylinders was taken at a meeting of Food and Civil Supply department officials chaired by the minister Shyam Rajak. At the meeting, the minister asked the oil companies to ban the sale of small cylinders with immediate effect.

“We have directed companies engaged in LPG business to stop with immediate effect the sale and supply of small cylinders. If any such cylinder is found in any shop, action will be taken against the concerning gas agencies,” Rajak told the media on Saturday.

The minister has further directed the oil companies to ask their consumers to surrender 5kg cylinders following reports that such cylinders have been distributed among 2,000 consumers. According to the report, around 3,000 cylinders of 5kg have been supplied to the listed consumers.

Investigating agencies probing the Bodh Gaya blasts found that the terrorists used 2.5 kg LPG cylinders to make the bombs which they had planted at the Buddhist religious site. Around 13 cylinder bombs with timers were planted by terrorists, of which 10 exploded, while the other three were defused by bomb disposal squads.

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, who visited the spot soon after the blasts, had wondered how the terrorists managed to sneak inside the temple premises with so many small LPG cylinders despite the presence of security personnel at the gate.

Investigating agencies have detained a Sri Lankan woman for interrogation. The woman, who has lived in Bodh Gaya since 2010 without any visa or passport, was taken into custody after she was seen in video footage of CCTV installed at the Mahabodhi temple.

The Sri Lankan devotee has reportedly told the investigators that she enters the temple every night just before the gate is locked and meditates the whole night. She has also reportedly told her interrogators she would sleep on the temple premises and would leave after the gate was opened for visitors the next morning.