A huge number of unauthorised and illegal petroleum shops are operated in Khulna city and different remote areas in the district in most insecure condition risking human lives.
These illegal fuel shops were established depending on the growing demand of fuel oil. Even some grocers’ shops keep petroleum oil for sale without following the safety rules.
The petrol is being sold in different unauthorized shops are adulterated, causing untold sufferings to the owners of motor vehicles.
The customers alleged that a section of dishonest traders are making high profits by mixing kerosene oil with petrol. Sub-standard diesel has also flooded the markets of the district, causing anxiety among the customers, they said.
Due to lack of monitoring system by the authorities concerned, the owners of vehicles of the district have become hostage in the hands of the dishonest fuel traders.
They said that demand of fuel oil in the district increased with the expansion of road network and rising number of motorised vehicles. Besides, farmers, engine boat and trawler owners and small mill owners in the villages are regular customers of these shops.
According to police sources on May 4 in 2009, Touhid, 4, son of Md Lelin, was killed and at least six people were badly injured in a fire at Khalishpur in Khulna city. The fire generated from an illegal fuel shop.
Dumuria thana police said, three of a family died at village Bandha under Dumuria upazila of Khulna district on April 19 in 2010 as an illegal fuel shop ran at their house caught fire at night. The fire occurred when petrol was being poured in a bottle from a drum at the shop keeping a burning lantern (lamp) aside carelessly while some drops of petrol fell on it.
Some of the illegal fuel shop owners in the villages said that they were unaware of the legal procedures of keeping and selling petroleum fuel, but they always remain alert about any possible fire. Many of them even confessed that they had no clear idea about how to control fire occurring from petroleum fuel.
Unauthorised fuel sellers in Khulna city said they were aware of the rule and kept their business running through managing police and officials of the administration.
Requesting anonymity, an unauthorised fuel shop owner in the city said, “We know trading of petroleum oil is illegal. But, it is so profitable that it leads us to do so, ignoring the risks.”
Inspector of Explosive of Department of Explosives, Khulna divisional office, Farid Uddin Ahmed, said the activities of the office were hampered due to manpower shortage. He, however, said despite the shortage they are trying their best steps to conduct mobile court.
But we cannot launch sudden conduct mobile court drives due to lack of necessary magistrates. The magistrates are often tied up with routine duties which make them unavailable for the drives, added Farid Ahmed.
Deputy Commissioner of Khulna Md Helal Hossain told ‘Bangladesh Post’ that he had already asked the authorities concerned to put the matter on the agenda of next monthly meeting of the district administration to conduct mobile court drives against the illegal petroleum oil shops.
Md Nazrul Islam, Manager of Sima Filing Station in the city said this illegal fuel trading hampers their business partially. They also demanded the authorities concerned to stop the unauthorized fuel shops immediately.