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Oil Marketing cos OMCs must B solely accountable 4 Quality & Quantity of fuel sold @ Pumps

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Recently a Special Task Force of Uttar Pradesh Police raided some petrol pumps in Lucknow in the state of Uttar Pradesh in India. The petrol pumps are operated by dealers of public sector oil marketing companies (OMCs) and it was found that even though the pumps carried seals of Weights & Measures department, yet they were delivering up to 5% short fuel to customers.

It was later revealed that these pumps had remote operated electronic chips that were capable of manipulating nozzle deliveries. The state police acted swiftly and arrested the dealers.

The dealers obviously indulged in despicable malpractice and they deserve to be punished but the role of Oil marketing companies (OMCs hereinafter) and the Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs hereinafter) and Weights and Measure department should also be investigated thoroughly and stringent action must be taken against those found guilty. A pump dealer isn't capable of such large scale swindle without the benign blessings of other stakeholders.

OMC dealers are many a times found to be selling short and sometimes they are even found selling adulterated products. Whenever such instances become public knowledge, the dealers are penalized and life carries on. The menace of adulteration has largely been curbed by use of M2M and IOT at the forecourt but the short delivery still persists rampantly and blatantly.

The role of OMCs, Weights & measures department and OEM (with whom OMCs sign contracts worth millions of Rupees for maintenance of dispensing pumps) must be thoroughly investigated. The officials of Wts & measures department too must be investigated and penalized if found guilty.  

OMC officials are required to inspect the Petrol pumps at least four to five times in an year. The OEM employees are required to inspect the pumps every month. It is unfathomable to think that the OMC dealers are not hand-in-glove with the OMC field level and territory/ divisional level officials. It is not possible that the OEM field staff is not on board when such corrupt practice at such large level is prevalent in the trade.

It is thanks largely to the Uttar Pradesh police that this malpractice has come to light.

The customers have been shortchanged and I enumerate my observations and offer solution as under:

1- The dealers have long been complaining that they themselves receive short supply from OMC depots. They allege that the tank lorry is filled using flawed flow meters and the quantity is then verified by dip sticks. If the dip sticks shows short fill, no action is taken but if the dip stick reveal excess fill, the amount is scooped out of tank lorry

2- The dealers allege that the tank lorry is filled at the depot when the ambient temperature is high and by the time the product is decanted into their underground storage tank, they suffer shortage due to temperature variation. 

3- The dealers further allege that the underground storage tanks are only arithmetically calibrated and not physically calibrated and they demand that all tanks should be physically calibrated and product receipt into the tank should be taken as receipt quantity. This they allege, will always be 100 to 200 liters lesser than quantity that the tank lorry driver claims he delivers at the outlet. The points alleged by dealers appear to have some merit and the OMCs by now should have arrived at some mechanism that could put the dealers' sense of injustice to rest. However nothing of that sort has happened. The dealers keep pointing at technical shortcomings in a perfect delivery- receipt mechanism and OMCs keep saying that dealers are responsible for all that happens at the outlet. In this blame game the customers is often cheated at the forecourts by way of short deliveries. 

4- It is a well known fact that in all forms of retail outlet dealerships (COCO, CODO or DODO), the underground tanks and dispensing pumps are the property of OMCs. Hence the OMCs must have the tanks and pumps sealed and they should be able to monitor them remotely. The product inventories at petrol pumps should also be under OMC ownership and control. The OMCs can't get away by saying that only the dealers alone are responsible for the Quality and Quantity aspect of retail outlet. If that is so then the hundreds of divisional offices of OMCs should be shut down. Once OMCs have full control over TPP (Tanks, product and Pumps), the dealer will not be able to short sell or adulterate the products.

5- The dealers should just concentrate on forecourt services and quality and quantity of product can be managed by OMCs using superior IOT (Internet of things) value proposition.The inlet of the tanks and locks of pumps can be remotely controlled and even with the present level of automation, the 100% remote surveillance of product quantity and fuel quality cane be achieved.

6- IGL limited, a joint venture between Delhi Government, GAIL and BPCL operates as per the model mentioned above where the stocks and dispensing units are full responsibility of IGL. This is applicable even in those OMC pumps where the CNG is not supplied online to the OMC dealers.

The CNG stocks are owned by IGL and OMC dealers pay IGL (though OMCs) every morning,  based upon previous day's nozzle sales.

The benefit of fixing full accountability on OMCs will benefit customers as they will receive pure products in exact quantity. 


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