Report identifies 497 illegal petrol pumps across Punjab

The Anti-Corruption Department has sealed 184 stations for non-compliance


Rizwan Asif October 20, 2020
The fuel crisis worsened in South Punjab as 90% of all petrol pumps closed down in the city of Faisalabad.

LAHORE:

A report issued by the Anti-Corruption Department reveals that there are over 479 illegally-constructed petrol pumps active in the province.

Majority of these stations, concentrated in Bahawalnagar, Gujranwala and Sahiwal divisions, have remained functional for several years without obtaining the 12 federal and provincial NOCs declared essential by the government. The petrol pumps, which have been constructed in close proximity to busy public areas like schools and hospitals, are also being investigated for selling smuggled petroleum products.

The Anti-Corruption Department has so far sealed some 184 pumps on similar accounts, while inquiry is still underway for the rest. In addition to that, the department in its report has also highlighted that over 35 per cent of petrol stations are involved in tempering of machines and petrol metres.

This reportedly causes customers to receive 15 to 20 per cent less petrol from pumps, while being charged full price.

In September, the Anti-Corruption Department, along with Punjab Industries, Commerce & Investment Department staff, inspected the metres of 299 petrol pumps and found some 106 of them to be fake.

“However, owing to various lacunas in the law, even after being caught for tampering, petrol pump owners are often able to resume business upon paying a few thousand rupees to the Industries Department,” a source associated with the industry informed The Express Tribune.

According to details, the 497 non-compliant petrol pumps were identified as a result of a special Punjab-wide documentation and technical inspection process ordered by Anti-Corruption Department Director General Gohar Nafees.

As per the Anti-Corruption Department report, 27 out of the 56 illegal pumps in Lahore region, 28 out of 86 pumps in Gujranwala region and nine out of 38 pumps in Rawalpindi region, had to be sealed for non-compliance.

Similarly 20 out of 39 illegal pumps in Faisalabad region, eight out of 40 in Sargodha region, 45 out of 67 in Sahiwal region and 15 out of 54 in Multan region also had to be shut down for similar reasons.

In addition to that, 13 out of 88 illegal petrol pumps in Bahawalpur region and 19 out of 29 illegal pumps in Dera Ghazi Khan region met a similar fate at the hands of the anti-corruption authorities.

According to information received by The Express Tribune, 12 different type of federal and provincial NOCs are required for the construction of a petrol pump.

“The most important of which, is the federal government’s K-form NOC issued by the federal Explosives Department. This requires the location of the pump to be inspected, in addition to technical assessment of pump tankers and risk assessments in case of fire or explosions to be carried out, prior to issuance of the form,” informed a source privy to the development.

“Another mandatory form required for setting-up petrol pumps is the J-form, which too is issued by the federal government but the authority for its annual renewal rests with the deputy commissioner,” he added.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 20th, 2020.

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