Illegal gas stations operate on real demand in HCMC

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Many gas stations have been operating illegally in Ho Chi Minh City since 2006 but there has been real demand for their services, the city Department of Industry and Trade says.


Of nearly 500 gas stations operating in the city, 61 should have stopped in 2006 following a city inspection, including 54 that did not have a construction permit.


A city administration decision had allowed 108 to function temporarity between 2007 and 2010.


Most of the illegally built gas stations are locate in outlying districts. They are operated by households outside and inside their homes.


One of the four stations in Tan Phu District that were supposed to have stopped operating in 2006 was seen selling fuel on Saturday.


The pumps are located near high-voltage power cables and just 3.5 meters from the sidewalk.


According to the city's plan to expand Binh Long Street, the pumps will locate on the roadway.


A district official said "when the authorities come to check, the station stops operations, but when we leave, they open again."


The Kim Quy station in District 5 is located around 40 meters from the city Medical University Hospital while the one on Bui Thi Xuan Street in District 1 is around 30 meters away from a kindergarten.


Regulations require gas stations to be located at least 50 meters from other residential constructions.


But officials said they still had to allow the stations operate temporarily as shutting them down would cause difficulties for many residents in the localities.


Officials in District 12 said most stations in the district are located on National Highway 1A that has a lot of traffic passing through every day.


Nguyen Thi Hong, vice chairman of HCMC People's Committee, has asked concerned agencies to do a survey to assess which stations can be improved and used later, and which cannot. The list is to be sent to the committee by the end of January.


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