Oil Firms Oppose Move To Relocate Pumps From NHs

New Delhi, July 25: | Updated: Jul 26 2002, 05:30am hrs
The national oil marketing companies have opposed the new guidelines being finalised by the government on the location of retail outlets along national highways.

The companies, which already have around 6,000 outlets along the national highways, are opposing the draft guidelines on the ground that if the existing outlets are asked to relocate due to non-conformation to the new norms, it will entail an additional expenditure of Rs 20 lakh to Rs 2 crore per outlet.

“Besides, relocation is not an easy job. It will require acquisition of new land and getting no-objection certificates from a number of agencies,” said an official adding that it could also amount to giving up strategically important locations to new players.

Companies, like Reliance and Essar, and other new entrants to petrol and diesel marketing business are of the view that the new norms should be made applicable to all the retail outlets.

Sources said the ministry of road transport has asked the national oil companies to furnish details of outlets, which would need to be relocated if the new guidelines are applied to them.

As per the draft guidelines, fuel stations are not to be located at a distance of less than 1 km from an intersection and from another fuel station on a single carriageway as divided carriageway sections.

The guidelines also lay down that access to the outlets should be through a service lane.

In the case of existing stations, the owners would be given a written notice to get the fuel stations regularised in accordance with the stipulations of these norms within a period of six months. “In case of non-response, action would be taken by asking the concerned oil company to deenergise the defaulting fuel station,” says the draft note.

A national oil company official said if the norms are made applicable to existing stations it will tantamount to them being asked to start from a scratch.

“These outlets have come up over the years keeping in mind the business expected to be generated. For instance, petrol pumps do not exist immediately after a city boundary ends since normally a person who heads for the highway stops after some time and not immediately,” he said.

The guidelines are being formed in order to make highways safe and free from traffic jams. They will be issued by the road transport and highway ministry in consultation with the ministry of petroleum and natural gas and national oil companies besides the NHAI.