Petrol pump in residential area a constant danger

SHILLONG: On March 24 this year, the petrol tanker that carried fuel for the petrol pump at Nongrim Hills caught fire. It was fortunate that fire tenders arrived on time to douse the flames or the consequences would have been disastrous since the petrol pump is located in a residential area.
On the day of the devastating fire, the residents who live within 100 meters from the pump vacated their homes for fear that the fire would spread. Since that fateful incident, the residents of Lumshngain and its adjoining areas had written two petitions to the East Khasi Hills deputy commissioner with copies to the chief secretary, not to allow the petrol pump to resume as it is a disaster waiting to happen.
Further, just behind the petrol pump is a paint warehouse which is also highly inflammable. Residents have been living in trepidation and appealing to the Rangbah Shnong of Nongrim Hills, under whose jurisdiction the petrol pump is located, to intervene in the matter but to no avail.
“The MLA of the area, Dr Jemino Mawthoh, lives a few meters away. We have approached him too but it appears that the petrol pump is about to resume its business,” residents of the area informed this reporter.
When Deputy Commissioner PS Dkhar was contacted for his views on the matter, he maintained that the cancellation of licences for petrol pumps and
warehouses is entrusted with the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) Limited.
Dkhar said, “After the fire incident (on March 24 at Nongrim), IOC conducted an inspection and the licence of the petrol pump has been suspended. It is up to IOC whether to revive or revoke the licence.”
The residents said living near these explosive plants poses a constant threat to their lives and properties.
“In spite of the foreseen mishap and written objection by the residents, the Government has not taken any action till date and has left us to our fates. In the first place no permission should have been granted to the petrol pump and the paint warehouse in a residential area,” the residents stated. “At this juncture, we would like to question as to how any competent authority could give permission and license to two highly inflammable and explosive plants, one a petrol pump and the other a massive paint warehouse to operate in a busy residential area, just for financial gains of these parties,” they added.
Some of the residents feel that perhaps it is time to move the Meghalaya High Court if the government does not respond to their pleas since that is the last resort, they said.

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