(MENAFN - Arab News) Shortage in the supply of gas cylinders at distribution outlets has led to increasing fears of a crisis until the National Gas and Industrialization Company (GASCO) resumes its operations.
The Ministry of Commerce and Industry played down the problem, saying it hasn't received any complaints concerning the shortage that is feared to affect restaurants and food catering companies if their supplies run out.
The shortage started in the wake of a fire that broke out over a month ago in the second department of GASCO.
A source at the Madinah Chamber of Commerce and Industry wondered why the company had not addressed the damage so far, saying it should have provided adequate stock, particularly in Makkah and Madinah because of the number of visitors these cities receive.
GASCO, in cooperation with the Department of Civil Defense and the Ministry of Municipality and Rural Affairs, is considering demanding new requirements when opening new outlets to distribute gas.
These would include the necessary licenses, the accredited distributor and a vehicle for transporting gas cylinders from the company to the outlet with full safety measures.
The plan does not include any requirement to move distribution outlets to locations outside city limits.
A number of citizens expressed their fears about the existing gas warehouses and shops within their neighborhoods. They filed complaints against the Department of Civil Defense in Makkah, saying that these facilities endanger their safety.
They said that cities in the Kingdom witness growth rates of development and urban progress that call for a new safety and security strategy.
Spokesman of the department Brig. Said Sarhan said the mentioned facilities have no records of accidents in the past.
"Moving these facilities outside city limits will burden citizens, as they constitute service sites in the first place," he added, citing existing safety measures. These include mechanisms of transportation and the authorized time period for transport services, with severe fines and penalties for violators.