QUNFUDAH —Several gas station owners in Qunfudah governorate said they intend to lodge a complaint and demand monetary compensation from the municipality after the latter shut down gas stations for repeated safety violations.
Qunfudah Municipality Head Saeed Al-Ghamdi said the municipality ran an inspection campaign two years ago of gas stations in the governorate to ensure that all rules and regulations were being followed. Owners were given two years to address any violations and those that failed to do so saw their gas stations shuttered by the municipality.
“Our inspectors came up with in-depth reports on each station inspected and the owners were notified of any violations noticed. The municipality gave them a period of 24 months to rectify their status and warned them that if they did not comply, the municipality would either shut down their stations temporarily or permanently,” said Al-Ghamdi.
He also said the municipality followed all protocols and gave the owners plenty of time to respond. “We closed down last week the stations that did not respond to our notifications. We are simply following procedures station owners are fully aware of,” said Al-Ghamdi.
He also said the municipality is renovating the services in the governorate to provide the best quality for pilgrims, travelers and tourists.
“Travelers stay on highways for hours. They deserve to find good services when they reach gas stations. The municipality shut down six stations in total, two of them permanently and four of them temporarily. The mosque and restrooms have not been shut down,” he said.
Gas station owners, however, claimed the municipality never informed them of any violations and have demanded monetary compensation.
Hasan Al-Hazmy accused the municipality of shutting down his gas station when it had no right to do so.
“My station has been operating without problems for 40 years. I have complied with 90 percent of the safety and security regulations. The municipality gave me the excuse that I needed to expand the area of my station. That notice was not given to me beforehand. I received a report highlighting other violations, which I have rectified,” said Al-Hazmy.
He said the municipality’s actions have caused him great financial loss.
“I am demanding monetary compensation for being out of business without a reason. I am fully licensed by the pertinent authorities to run the gas station. The municipality has overstepped its right and I demand to be compensated,” said Al-Hazmy.
Behni Al-Zubaidi also said the municipality shut down his station without any prior notice.
“I never received any reports from the municipality and I never received any complaints from my customers. Many of my customers are government officials who are aware of the regulations, and they never informed me of any violations,” said Al-Zubaidi.
“Citizens have the right to have a gas station they can fill up their cars at. The municipality should allow me to run my station and give me more time to rectify the violations because I was not notified of any violations beforehand,” he added.