The ambitious plan of the petroleum and natural gas ministry to deliver petroleum products at doorsteps of consumers has raised concerns among various stakeholders, especially on the safety front. Taking the first step towards implementing the plan, the petroleum ministry held consultations earlier this week with representatives from the petroleum ministry, oil marketing companies, department of consumer affairs and the department of industry policy and promotion to chalk out a suitable model. “Fuel dispensing requires that there should be a nine-metre safe area, where even mobile phones are not allowed. These issues need to be looked at,” said a government official, requesting not to be identified.Licences for delivery of fuel will have to taken by distributors from the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation. ThisisanarmundertheDIPPentrustedwith the responsibilityto ensure safety and security of the publicandpropertyfromfireand explosion. Petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan had on April 21 tweeted that the petroleum ministryis exploring home delivery of petroleum products. However,so farthis idea has only reached the informal informal discussion stage. Under the plan, petroleum productssuchasdiesel,petroland kerosene are likely to be homedeliveredonpre-booking,helping consumers avoid long queues at fuelstations.Asperministryestimates, close to 3.5 crore transactions take place at fuel outlets everydayacrossthecountry.Currently, liquefied petroleum gas and piped natural gas are delivered to homes.
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In addition, fuel retail outlets also sell lubricants and diesel for agricultural use in containers. Kerosene is also sold in containers to eligible beneficiaries at government fair price shops. Conventionally,beforeimplementing such schemes, they are tested through pilot projects. Anofficial,whodidnotwanttobe named, said a model has to emerge for the scheme. During the recent discussion,stakeholderswere also asked about the implementationchallenges.“ Weexplainedrulesneedtobechanged, whicharealreadybeingdone.The riskwillbeenforcement,”saidthe official,adding that India will be the first country to implement suchascheme,thoughitisunder trial in the US, but not legalised yet. As per initial reports, the schemeatthegroundlevelwillbe implemented by private dealers who will procure fuel from petrol pumps.
By Surbhi Prasad & Saurabh Kumar