By William Madouk
National fire brigade and Bureau of Standards have reportedly formed a joint committee to probe petrol stations adjacent to residential areas.
As fuel trade is a lucrative business, several investors have immensely embraced the sector, to the extent of scattering filling stations all over Juba: with some positioned next to family houses.
The Chief Executive Officer for National Bureau of Standards, Mary Gordon is alarmed over the increasing number of fuel stations, spreading all over the capital city and even to residential areas.
“That has been a concern for all of us, including the Bureau of Standards,” Ms. Gordon said.
“I am very happy now that the fire brigade has taken the lead and formed a committee of which the Bureau of Standards is a member,” the bureau chief added.
The committee is set to investigate, exactly how these patrol stations, estimated to be over 130 in number, have been spread all over the place, with a critical look on authorization for establishment.
She said they would also investigate the origin and how owners of fuel stations got the contracts.
According to Ms. Gordon, some of the fuel stations pose a threat to adjacent people, properties, and houses should they catch fire.
“We want to know the genesis of it, how they got the contract, and who gave them the contract,” the boss of the Bureau of Standards noted.
Mary stated that “Even some of the fuel stations are neighboring houses, and this is very dangerous. All of us know that if there is a fire, all those houses will catch fire and people will die.”
According to her, the committee will investigate procedures for regularizing the location of existing fuel stations, and if found to be illegal, the authority will decide what to do next.
“So, we are doing an investigation now to ascertain whether the right procedure was taken or not. If not, then the government will have to decide the best way forward,” Ms. Mary stressed.
Undersecretary at the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Joseph Africano Bartel, tweeted that the ongoing trend of petrol stations construction in residential areas poses a safety threat to residents.
“Juba City Council should stop approving these constructions, or else they will be liable for any loss or damage,” he cautioned.
In some countries, the rule is that fuel stations must be at least 400 meters away from one another. But you see how filling stations are closely situated all over the country.