Lahore: 42 illegal petrol pumps in city
LAHORE: About 42 petrol pumps across the city are operating in violation of rules, despite the expiry of their lease periods and licences.
These pumps will remain operational till the authorities concerned renew the lease policy rules. Due to a ban on leasing of land to petrol pumps since 2004, the authorities concerned have not been able to amend the rules. The Petroleum Act 1934 was amended in 1937 and 1971.
The City District Government Lahore (CDGL) officials said more than 42 petrol pumps on Empress Road, Canal Road, Circular Road, McLeod Road, Ghari Shahu, Shalamar, Sherawala, Mori Gate and Shahdara were in violation of the rules.
They said these petrol pumps were the property of ‘influential people’.
They said the owners of these pumps were allotted lands on lease for a period of one to 30 years. The lease period of some of the pumps had ended, but the businesses were still operational.
“Under the rules, the lease period automatically expires after the death of the lessee, but a majority of the pumps are being run even after the death of the lessees.”
They said some of the pump owners had been paying Rs 500 to Rs 700 as rent to the government in the past, but this practice was also curtailed after 2004.
They said one of the lessees had sold the leased land for Rs 12.5 million, but no action had been taken against him so far. They also said about five pumps had been sealed.
They said the rent of the leased lands had reached to Rs 30,000 to Rs 100,000 (commercial rates) a month. The pumps were causing loss of about Rs 4,000,000 per month to the exchequer of the CDGL.
Civil Defence Officer Munawar Nadeem said, “It is true that various petrol pumps are operating in violation of the rules and this is resulting in a huge financial loss to the government.”
Replying to a question on why the lease policy was renewed after 2004, he said, “It is better to contact the Revenue Department in this regard.”
When asked about the legal action against such pumps, he said, “A person running a petrol pump without a licence could be fined up to Rs 15,000 and imprisoned up to three years. Those who do not get their licences renewed could be fined up to Rs 2,000.”