Gas stations ordered to upgrade
Jan 10, 2017-Gasoline stations have been told to upgrade their infrastructure and maintain safety standards set by Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) in the next four months.
The state-owned oil monopoly has warned dealers that they will face action if they do not abide by the regulation as per the Dealers Bylaw (Sixth Amendment) 2016.
The amended bylaw, enforced two weeks ago, requires gasoline stations to maintain three separate storage tanks with a capacity of at least 34 kilolitres each. In addition, the pumps should possess a separate tank to hold 1,000 litres of water.
Similarly, petrol pumps should be surrounded by a compound wall 3-5 feet high. The approach road connecting the gas station should be blacktopped or paved with concrete. Trees should be planted on the premises, and there should be a well built drainage system.
Gas stations should provide drinking water service, seating yard and toilet facilities to their customers. With regard to safety measures, they should be equipped with a minimum of four fire extinguishers, four 10-litre buckets filled with sand and tools like pick and shovel.
The bylaw allows petrol pumps to go for a merger or relocate if they are unable to meet these standards at their current place of business.
NOC issued a public notice on Friday asking petrol pumps to maintain the specified infrastructure. NOC Director Sitaram Pokharel said they had given gas stations a four-month deadline to upgrade the facilities.
There are 1,400 petrol pumps operating across the country. Among them, 143 are located in the Kathmandu Valley. Many of them have been operating without maintaining the required standards, NOC said.
Surya Prasad Shrestha, spokesperson for the Supplies Ministry, said they had issued the new regulation in a bid to prevent haphazard growth of petrol pumps and ensure minimum services and safety measures to motorists. “If gasoline stations do not follow the rule, we will take action against them as per the bylaw,” he said.
According to the amended bylaw, NOC can reduce deliveries to errant gasoline stations. If they still do not upgrade their facilities at the end of five months, deliveries will be cut to one-fourth. After that, they can lose their licence.
Lilendra Prasad Shrestha, president of the Nepal Petroleum Dealers’ National Association, said they were positive about the conditions in the bylaw. “However, it is uncertain whether all petrol pumps will be able to do whatever has to be done within the deadline,” Shrestha said.
Published: 10-01-2017 09:52