URGING HIGHER authorities to take urgent action and conduct immediate checks on petrol pumps, district civil supplies officials said on Monday that there was a free flow of adulterated petrol at most oil pumps in Pune district. They blamed “casual checks” conducted at the Loni Kalbhor terminal, the main source of oil supplies.
The district civil supplies department, after conducting a detailed check of the terminal last week following adulteration complaints from people as well as petrol dealers, found that the terminal has neither a “vehicle tracking system” nor an “ethanol blending device”, the mandatory checks to avoid rampant adulteration.
A detailed report has been submitted to the Food and Civil Supplies minister Girish Bapat to initiate further action in the matter, said Neelima Dhaigude of the Food Distribution and Civil Supplies office.
Loni Kalbhor terminal is the main supplier of fuel for the Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) and the Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL). Dhaigude said that last week, the team from the district administration seized nearly 4-5 tankers involved in adulteration of petrol after receiving complaints from individuals as well as petrol pump owners regarding adulteration.
During their probe, they found that the vehicle tracking system– to keep a check on tanker route from the terminal to the depots–were not in place and most tankers were not following the route. “There was no monitoring system in place and there were several complaints pertaining to fuel in tankers being adulterated,” said Dhaigude. Moreover, the ethanol blender that is supposed to mix ethanol with petrol was not functioning and so most of the work was done manually, leading to major adulteration, added Dhaigude.
“At a petrol pump, while the tank is being emptied, ethanol settles down and petrol floats on top. There are chances that some people may mix ethanol beyond the permissible limits, which may cause damage to vehicles. Moreover, with no tracking system in place, a lot of adulteration is possible,” said Dhaigude.
Such cases are rampant as there are many people who have complained regarding the mixing of petrol and ethanol beyond the permissible limits. A resident of Mundhwa, K Rao, said he was having trouble with his vehicle and it was later told to him by garage workers that the petrol was adulterated and led to knocking. As per the state policy, a 10 per cent mix of ethanol and petrol is permitted but anything beyond this would be termed as adulteration.
Garage owners said that mixing ethanol in petrol beyond the permissible limit of 10 per cent is one of the major causes for vehicles to break down. A garage owner in the Camp area said most two-wheeler owners complain that their vehicles gave a knocking sound and this is commonly observed due to petrol adulteration.
“The repair costs a customer Rs 800-Rs 1200 depending on the damage,”said the garage owner Karanjit Singh. He said that the density of petrol needs to be checked at the pump itself by the customer, although this is not done.
The petrol dealers, at their end, have a different take on this issue. After repeatedly complaining to the civil supplies department regarding adulteration in tankers coming from the depot, the dealers have forwarded their demands to the company.
Ali Daruwalla, spokesperson All India Petrol Dealers Association said they want the products as per the flow meter rather than dip-rod method and the tankers coming from Loni Kalbhor terminal should be calibrated as per the flow meter and the underground tanks of the petrol pumps should be calibrated to attain better accuracy.
Meanwhile, the oil firms, when pointed out that they do not have the mandatory “ethanol petrol” blender system in place, have told the civil supplies department that such infrastructure is not there in any of their terminals and they would seek advice from their head offices for such a system to be in place.
(with inputs from Garima Mishra and Alifiya Khan)