PSU major Indian Oil Corporation is carrying out a surprise inspection at its retail outlets in the North-East to detect any irregularity after some cases were reported from a few states in India. The drive, which started on June 15, has unearthed various types of irregularities at 14 fuel depots so far in Assam, Meghalaya and Nagaland. “We initiated this inspection drive to check quality and quantity standards of fuel sold to customers by the depots. Actually, in Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra, irregularities were detected at depots. After that, IOC decided to carry out such drive across India,” IOC Executive Director Dipankar Ray told PTI here.
The company then decided to form a joint Special Task Force (STF) with state governments, which would then conduct raids to inspect 20 per cent of the depots randomly. “This drive is being carried out by all oil retailers. However, IOC itself decided to conduct surprise raids of all its dealers in the North-East. Accordingly, we have formed 45 teams comprising almost 100 officers,” Ray said.
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There are 879 IOC outlets in the North-East, of which 542 are in Assam itself. “Though this exercise is beneficial to customers, the dealers are not liking it as their irregularities are being detected. For this, we are getting lots of reluctance and resistance. The target to complete the inspection was July 31, but it is likely to stretch till August,” Ray added.
So far, IOC and the STF have detected irregularities at 14 depots in the North-East, including 11 in Assam, 2 in Meghalaya and 1 in Nagaland, he added. While 10 anomalies were found by IOC teams, four were identified by the STF. “We had immediately suspended sale from the depots concerned and the dispensing units. After verification and re- calibration of the dispensing units, eight have been reopened,” the executive director said. IOC is even conducting an awareness drive for retail customers.
“A customer can demand quantity and quality check at each retail outlet. A dealer is mandated to do it if a customer asks for this. We are trying to educate customers that if they feel that there are some discrepancies in the fuel they purchase, they should demand these checks from the dealers,” Ray said. To get customers on board for this campaign, IOC has come out with incentives such as gifts.