Petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan’s tweet on April 21 regarding home delivery of petroleum products may have taken many by surprise, but the actual implementation of the programme is likely to take some time. As of now, the ministry of petroleum and natural gas has only initiated informal discussions with the oil marketing companies (OMCs) to work out the modalities.
“This thought has been there for some time and we will work on this. We have had some informal discussions, but no formal meeting has happened,” said a top executive from one of the OMCs requesting not to be named.
Pradhan had recently tweeted that the ministry is exploring ways to deliver petroleum products, which are likely to include diesel, petrol and kerosene, to the doorstep of consumers on pre-booking, and that it would help consumers avoid the long queues at fuel stations.
The ministry is currently exploring mechanisms through which the scheme can be implemented. Usually, such programmes are first tested on a pilot basis before being implemented across the country.
At present, only liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and piped natural gas are delivered to residences. Also, lubricants and diesel are sold in containers at fuel retail outlets. Kerosene, too, is sold in containers to consumers at government fair price shops.
On an average, around 3.5 crore transactions take place at retail fuel outlets across the country every day as per ministry estimates.
The executive quoted above added that the OMCs will have to develop a mechanism and only when it is ripe can the plan be implemented. “There are various elements which have to be put in place, but it’s worth giving a try,” the executive said.
An email sent to the petroleum ministry on Monday to seek the status of the plan to home-deliver petroleum products remained unanswered.
The announcement by the government comes at a time when petrol pump owners in eight states are planning to keep their outlets shut on Sundays, a move that has been viewed negatively by the petroleum ministry. However, the All India Petroleum Dealers Association, with around 46,000 petrol pump owners as members, is not part of this plan.