KARNATAKA

Action against petrol stations violating norms

Special Correspondent

MANGALORE: The National Highways, Mangalore division, will initiate action against erring petrol stations on highways in the five districts under its jurisdiction.

An order issued by the National Highways in October 2003 notes that 23 petrol stations in Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, Hassan, Chikmagalur and Shimoga districts have violated the National Highways' "acceleration and de-acceleration" norms.

As per the order, the "exit lane" and the "inlet lane" should be at least 100 metres tangent to the National Highway, and should not run perpendicular to the highway. The entry and exit of vehicles from the national highways should be smooth, the order notes.

Violations

Speaking to The Hindu , B.S. Balakrishna, Executive Engineer, National Highways, Mangalore Division, said that the division has found that many petrol stations owned by private and public sector companies have violated norms, which will be viewed seriously.

Such violations could lead to accidents and loss of life and property in which case the National Highways will be held responsible for not creating "acceleration" and "de-acceleration" zones.

He said the National Highways had to cut off entry to a private petrol station near Mulky to compel the company to adhere to the norms. Many companies have not responded to the notices sent by the National Highways, which will be met with punitive measures, he added.

He said oil companies will be sent notices with specific instructions and directions on how to keep the "acceleration and de-acceleration" zones free of accidents.

The notices will also specify a timeframe to carry out the changes and alterations. If the companies fail to comply with the instructions, the National Highways will take action, Mr. Balakrishna said.

Highways

With the Government keen on developing highways into high-speed zones for free and swift movement of men and material, there is no way that safety can be given a go-by.

The National Highways is also aware that its relationship with oil companies may rupture if action is taken against erring petrol stations, Mr. Balakrishna said and added that the National Highways is equipped to handle such situations on the strength of the new rules that came into force in October 2003.

The National Highways has also been empowered to issue no-objection certificate, he said. But in many cases, new petrol station owners do not deem it necessary to seek the certificate before commissioning the establishment, he added.