METROPOLITAN, municipal and district assemblies in the country, seem to have accepted the challenge thrown them to check the siting of filling stations in unauthorised places, following last Wednesday’s floods and the fire outbreak at the Goil Filling Station at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle, which claimed many innocent lives.
Reports coming in daily, indicate that the assemblies are checking the appropriateness of the siting of fuel stations, whether authorised, and in some instances, ordering the immediate closure of those wrongly sited.
The Times last Monday, reported the demolition of a filling station under construction at Amasaman, said to belong to a Member of Parliament. That same day, Mr Mahama Ayariga, the Minister of the Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, during a tour of some of the stations in Accra, announced measures to curb their proliferation.
It is encouraging to note that since then, many of the MMDAs have sprung into action to deal with the situation.
The Ga South Municipal Assembly, for instance, ordered the Total Filling Station wrongly sited at Mallam Junction, to suspend operation to allow for the construction of a drain there.
Today, we carry the story of the New Juabeng Municipal Chief Executive, Dr. Kweku Owusu Acheampong, ordering a halt to the construction of a filling station near the Kassardjian bypass at Effiduase.
Though these efforts of the assemblies are commendable, we are at a loss why they had to wait till a grave calamity, such as befell us in Accra last Wednesday, should strike before doing what they are legally enjoined to.
The assemblies have failed the nation woefully, by not living up to their responsibilities.
In some cases, it is even said licences and permits for filling stations and dwellings in waterways are approved by the assemblies in blatant disregard of laid down rules and regulations, and without due diligence.
We are amazed at this recklessness exhibited by institutions which should know better.
It is also worrying that the Municipal Chief Executive of Ga South, Jerry Akwei Thompson, in ordering the suspension of the demolition of a filling station, offered the owner a way out by assuring that he might be permitted to resume operations after the construction of the drains in the area.
That, for us, smacked of a cover up by the authorities, and an insult to the people’s intelligence.
While we agree that the nation should not engage in the blame game, and score political points, we still believe that the authorities of the various assemblies should be held responsible for such lapses, and/or inactions which have allowed people to flout the rules and regulations in the country.
The Times recommends that the Ministerial Task Force inspecting the siting of filling stations should also expose the officials who allowed them in the first instance, and to sanction them accordingly.