Authorities Say Petrol Stations Must Be Licensed

Phnom Penh municipal authorities are preparing measures to issue licenses to the hundreds of petrol shops operating in the city illegally, as they pose a threat to public safety, according to a statement released Wednesday.

Phnom Penh governor Pa Socheatvong held a meeting on Tuesday with petrol station owners about the problem of illegal sales and the need to implement rules prohibiting unlicensed stations.

“We have to come up with a new plan to properly regulate petrol stations and also ensure that they implement and follow a set of technical standard practices,” Mr. Socheatvong said, adding that shops presently operating without a license risk being shut down.

According to a report conducted by the municipal department of industry, mines and energy and discussed at the meeting, only 120 out of 370 shops selling petrol in the city are currently licensed.

“Petrol stations and shops selling petrol must fill out the necessary forms with City Hall to get a license to prevent them selling without being responsible to the local authorities,” Mr. Socheatvong said.

City Hall spokesman Long Dimanche said that Tuesday’s meeting was ostensibly to promote fire safety and prevent damage to adjacent buildings.

However, the initiative to monitor petrol sales comes as tension continues in Phnom Penh over the disputed July 28 national election result and the opposition party’s calls for more mass protests to force the ruling CPP to accept an independent investigation of the poll.

Before City Hall begins enforcing the license requirement, Mr. Dimanche said that a working group would gather total figures for all businesses and then send letters inviting them to receive licenses.

Slaut Sambun, owner of The Modern Gas petrol station in Daun Penh district’s Boeng Raing commune, said that he didn’t have a license but couldn’t comment on City Hall’s new rules because he hadn’t yet heard about them.

“My company doesn’t have any license from City Hall, but we have registered the business with the Ministry of Commerce,” he said.

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