Coming down hard on petrol pump operators, state-run oil marketing companies (OMC) on Tuesday amended the Marketing Discipline Guidelines (MDG) enhancing punishment for those found indulging in short delivery of fuels, running automated pumps on manual mode or not providing clean toilet facility.
The penalty in case of short delivery “beyond permissible limit” in the first instance has been raised to Rs 25,000 per faulty nozzle from previous penalty of a simple warning. Second slip within a year would attract a fine of Rs 50,000 and suspension of sale/supply for 15 days. Earlier, this attracted a fine of Rs 10,000.
In case of a third violation within the year, the new norms stipulate termination of the dealership whereas previously it would only attract a fine of Rs 25,000 per faulty nozzle.
In case of retailers operating an automated outlet in manual mode without authorisation, the punishment has been monetised at Rs 1 lakh for the first irregularity, Rs 2 lakh with suspension of sale/supply for a week in the second instance and termination for the third occurrence. In the MDG 2012, such violations invited suspension of sales for 15 days, 30 days and termination for first, second and third violations, respectively.
Clean and accessible toilets for all have been given more importance in the revised MDG which are to be “implemented with immediate effect”.
Dealers have to check daily and ensure that the toilets are clean all the time, proper lighting is available, flush (wherever provided) is working properly, water is available, working latch is available on the toilet door, signage is available and the toilet door is not kept locked.
In case a retail outlet is found lacking in any of the above, the penalties have been raised to Rs 15,000 in the first instance and Rs 25,000 in the second. Third and subsequent instances would attract a fine of Rs 35,000 or 45 per cent of the monthly dealer commission, whichever is higher, as well as suspension of sale/supply for a week.
Earlier, the fines were limited to Rs 10,000, Rs 20,000, Rs 30,000 or 40 per cent of the dealer commission with a week’s suspension.
These changes come in the wake of widespread meter tampering unearthed in Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra last April following which the petroleum ministry directed the OMCs to consider a four-pronged strategy, including
an “immediate time-bound stringent departmental action” against OMC officers found guilty.
While it asked for stringent penalties against corrupt petrol pump operators by amending the MDG, it also insisted on bringing the errant OMC officers under its purview. However, the revised guidelines do not include any action against OMC executives. Payment of minimum wages to manpower has also been introduced in the amended MDG with a stipulation that the workers be paid higher of the OMC notified wage or the statutory minimum wage notified by the state government.
They would now also be entitled to provident fund, bonus, gratuity, earned and annual leave as notified by the OMCs from time to time.
Outlets which do not adhere to wage and service norms would face a deduction of 20 per cent of monthly commission while second fault would incur a 30 per cent cut. Third and subsequent instances would result in deduction of 40 per cent of the dealer commission as well as suspension of sale and supply for 15 days.