Posted on September 12, 2014
The State Cabinet has decided to set up a committee to assess and regularly monitor the safety of petrol filling and service stations. Strict monitoring will be done of how these stations store fuel and how they fill up petrol in customers’ vehicles, Qatar News Agency (QNA) reported before yesterday.
More importantly, the committee will be deciding which commercial activities should be housed within the precincts of a petrol station and which one should be removed. Presently, many petrol stations double as commercial complexes with people crowding them as they boast eateries, supermarkets and even laundries. The committee is to be set up at the Ministry of Energy and Industry and will be tasked with upgrading standards and specifications for petrol filling and service stations.
The panel will check how far the existing stations are complying with the upgraded standards and specifications involving health and safety. Non-compliance is to be dealt with seriously. How far petrol stations are polluting the environment is also to be checked and made sure that doesn’t happen anymore. The Cabinet had actually issued a draft decision earlier ordering the formation of the above-mentioned committee and the State Cabinet, at its weekly meeting yesterday, endorsed it.
The committee is to be a permanent feature as a petrol station monitoring agency, it is understood. The government’s move to form the committee follows media reports that not all petrol stations in the country are safe. Local newspapers have been talking of the need to upgrade safety standards for petrol stations and ensure compliance by all of them after a devastating incident took place at one of them late in February this year. After the incident, restaurants and cafeterias within the precincts of a petrol station have been barred from using LPG cylinders and tanks. They must instead use electric ovens.
The sale of transparent cooking gas cylinders was also banned by supermarkets operating within the precinct of a petrol station. The decision was, however, revoked in respect of some petrol stations later. Members of the Central Municipal Council (CMC) raised the issue of safety of petrol stations in the aftermath of the late February incident and demanded strict monitoring by the authorities concerned. They said that the licence of those petrol stations that are not safe should be cancelled and the eateries be removed from the premises of all filling and service stations without any exception.