Safety rules have significantly tightened at gas stations in Georgia.
According to the new norms, a fine in the amount of GEL 200- 1 500 will be imposed on the owner of the facility if safety rules are violated or do not meet standards . A hidden operation of the station will be subject to sanctions in the amount of GEL 1 000, failure to carry out technical inspections – GEL 750. The bill was developed by the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development.
“The number of gas stations in Georgia has increased which are not controlled by the state. Since gas stations are facilities of high risk, in accordance with this amendment and in a case of its adoption, technical supervision will be carried out at gas stations, which means, first and foremost, setting of safety rules”, – Deputy Economy Minister Natia Mikeladze says.
Owners of gas stations hail the amendments to the Code of Product Safety and Free Movement of Goods.
According to a representative of TRADE STONE IBERIA Vakhtang Chakhnashvili, this business is not practically controlled and requires regulations.
“Until recently, no one supervised this area, no one checked the condition of the equipment, its compliance with safety standards. The introduction of the mandatory technical inspection of cars will facilitate its regulation, although, unfortunately, the government decided to postpone this measure for 2 years. The car must necessarily be checked and our field as well- serviceability of gas equipment should definitely be checked. Often this occurs in primitive conditions, the cylinders installed in a car cannot withstand the pressure of the equipment operating at gas stations and goes out of service ,”- the businessman notes.
The government’s initiative is welcomed by SOCAR-Energy. According to the company’s Corporate Director Irakli Zubitashvili, the company has built 20 gas stations throughout Georgia that 100% correspond to all international standards.
“This sector must be under a very strict supervision of the state in order to maximally protect interests of the population,” – the representative of SOCAR says.
The head of the Association of Natural Gas Users Imeda Dvalidze states that the situation is completely uncontrolled in this industry and needs the state regulation.
“Unfortunately, our Association was not involved in the work on the law, but I still hope that we’ll participate in the discussion of the project and our recommendations will be considered,” – he notes.
In his words, due to the growing competition in the market, companies often ignore safety rules to avoid the extra costs.
“In the end, it gives very bad results. But if there is an obligation, non-fulfillment of which will be punishable by a fine, then companies will be more attentive to this issue,”-Dvalidze adds.