Unlicensed petrol stations were destroyed by the authorities. Photo: Rudaw
By Hardi Mohammed
KIRKUK, Iraq – Iraqi authorities launched a campaign to crack down all illegal petrol stations in Kirkuk province. Some stations have been destroyed after their owners allegedly refused to abide by an order to close them.
“The decree has been issued by the Council of Ministers, not by Kirkuk [administration], to close 113 unlicensed petrol stations,” Najat Hussein, member of Kirkuk provincial council’s oil and energy committee, told Rudaw.
Six unlicensed stations have been given a temporary reprieve, he explained, giving the owners time to prove they have “investment permits.”
If they cannot provide the correct paperwork, they will also be shut down, Hussein said.
Hawez Dilshad’s petrol station was destroyed by counter-terrorism forces, but he claims he was not given any notice.
“They detained the workers for 2-3 days and made them sign pledges not to return to the petrol stations. We were not previously informed. They brought the frontend loader and destroyed it,” he claimed.
Hassan Tani used to work in one of the stations that was shut down. He is now jobless.
“All these petrol stations were closed on the basis that they do not have a license. I do not know if there is another reason. We call on the Iraqi government to reopen these stations because they are a source of income for people,” he protested.
There are 22 public petrol stations in Kirkuk that provide gasoline at reduced prices. It can be purchased using a coupon. Drivers use private petrol stations when their coupons run out.
Drivers are worried that with the closure of more than 100 private stations, they will face a long wait at the gas pump.