State halts issuing new permit for filling stations

NO new permit for the construction of petrol/diesel filling station will be issued in the next three months effective yesterday, the government has announced.

The government has also suspended issuing residential houses building permits to owners of plots or pieces of land, which do not match the city, municipality and town councils’ plans.

The order formed part of seven directives announced in Dodoma on Thursday by the Minister for Land, Housing and Human Settlement Development, Dr Angeline Mabula, which seeks to enforce safety measures and ensure sanity within the fuel distribution chain nationwide.

The objective according to the Minister Mabula is to improve the planning process and better manage urban growth moving forward. She also said that the directives are aimed at ensuring city; town and councils’ master plans are observed.

“These directives are geared towards ensuring all councils in the country observe and manage urban planning,” she said.

Halting issuing permits, followed among others, the unprecedented and unplanned mushrooming of such fuel stations, with some being setup in the midst of highly populated residential areas.

“We’ve noted with concern the mushrooming petrol stations, with some being built in residential areas putting human lives in great danger,” Dr Mabula said.

In addition, she announced cessation of land use in favour for the construction of petrol stations, adding that the government is conducting through verification and evaluation of the permit and authenticity of their locations as per respective area master plan.

Dr Mabula said despite the existence of law, rules and regulations on construction of filling stations  in the country, of late, there have been mushrooming constructions, which do not take into account master plan and its setting directives.

The move, the minister said, has raised alarm from a number of stakeholders of the rapid growth of unplanned petrol stations constructions, which has a negative impact on cities and towns’ developments.

“We’ve suspended the relevant authorities to give permits for construction of petrol stations for three months effective today (yesterday), while we conduct thorough evaluation for proper measures” she insisted.

The minister added that after verification and evaluation would be conducted, all gasoline stations which have been wrongly constructed will be demolished.

She underscored the need for town planners and land officers to ensure effective implementation of the directive.

Of late there have been concerns on public safety in the event of a fire outbreak, especially where these stations are built and mostly in the midst of highly populated residential areas.

Dr Mabula named Dar es Salaam and Coast regions as leading in unplanned mushrooming petrol stations constructions.

The minister also suspended issuing residential houses building permits to owners of plots or land areas, which do not match the town plan, adding that they give a bad view of the respective areas.

“If the area is for low, medium or high density or for high rising building or flats, the permits issued must be for the earmarked land use and not otherwise, town planners and land officer must enforce this” said Dr Mabula.

Adding “It has come to our attention that some people buy low density plots and choose to divide them to a number of plots, thus distorting the area plan, if you cannot develop it, look for an investor, but the core land use must remain,” she said.

Also, she directed land offices countrywide, to make close follow up and ensure effective adherence of the master plan and come up with a programme for its practicability.

She said councils which do not have development plan budgets must allocate financial resources needed to come up with the master plans, as well as a programme which clearly indicates how settlement development will be.

Dr Mabula reminded the public that they should not start building residential houses or any other construction without attaining the building permits; doing so she said, is against the law.

The minister said there has been arbitrary distribution of land allocation of the improperly surveyed plots, which have effects not only on the outlook but also social services dispensation.

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