Standing in long queues at fuel retail outlets may be a thing of the past soon as the ministry of petroleum and natural gas is exploring ways to deliver petro products like diesel, petrol and kerosene at the doorsteps of consumers on a pre-booking basis. “This would help consumers avoid spending excessive time and long queues at fuel stations,” tweeted petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Friday. At present the ministry is exploring mechanisms through which the scheme can be implemented. At present, piped natural gas and liquefied natural gas are the only petroleum products which are delivered at doorstep of consumers. Also, other products such as lubricants are sold in pre-packaged packs at retail outlets and even at retail counters of automobile shops. Kerosene are also sold in containers to consumers at government fair price shops.
But the ruling National Democratic Alliance government plans to phase out kerosene altogether as it is not the cleanest form of cooking and is promoting use of LPG through the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana which aims to provide free LPG connections to women belonging to the below-poverty-line households across the country. Petrol and diesel, however, are only sold at retail outlets and though diesel could be collected in jerry cans from retail outlets for powering generator sets for irrigation purposes, petrol in practice is not given in containers.
According to an Allahabad-based fuel retail outlet owner who did not want to be named, though he sells diesel to customers demanding to be filled in containers, petrol is not sold because of the complicated rules. According to Petroleum Rules, 1976, there are certain categories of containers which are allowed for different categories of petroleum products which should be approved by the chief controller. For instance, containers for petroleum class A, which includes petrol, shall be constructed of tinned, galvanised or externally rust-proof sheet iron or steel.
The rule further states, “The container shall bear a stamped, embossed or painted warning exhibiting in conspicuous characters the words “Petrol” or “Motor Spirit” or an equivalent warning of the highly inflammable nature of the petroleum.” These rules do not apply to the defences forces only. Pradhan was in Srinagar on Friday when the tweets came in. He was chairing the meeting of the Consultative Committee Meeting of Members of Parliament for the ministry of petroleum and natural gas and the agenda of the meeting was promotion of cashless transactions.