How dirty is our petrol?

Reader Mr S S left a rather interesting and long comment (see quoted below) on this old but popular post on “cheating by petrol bunks“. If our petrol is so obviously freaking dirty, why does this not get enough coverage in main stream sting-operation hungry media? BTW, amidst all the positive publicity for Shell and Reliance outlets, could that rumor about Reliance willingly dispensing more petrol to build itself a name be true? Not so sure.

“Having worked in the sales and marketing dept of a PSU oil company , i can confidently say that 80% of all PSU dealers cheat- LPG, Petrol , Diesel.

They have thrived on by cheating customers , in most cases with the knowledge of officials. It was news to me after joining the job that a upto 50 ml of allowance (short delivery) is allowed by the weights and measures rule for every 10 litres dispensed from a pump. Add to that one of the most corrupt depts in india. The personal assets of inspectors of weights and measures dept in big cities would be testimony. Even the pump technicians in oil companies are High net worth individuals.”

Pump technicians and HNIs? Didn’t know that.

“Regarding shell , i presume since they are owned by the company and are of world repute these cases would be almost nil. Initially there was a rumour that reliance used to give excess petrol/diesel to prove to the customer that they get better mileage with reliance.

Nowadays the issue of additives , like kerosene etc in diesel is controlled to some-extend in big cities. But these are again audits by company officials and not third party.The only way out is to introduce competition, strict action by PSUs by suspending corrupt dealers (unlikely, most are politicians, goons, relatives of high and mighty etc). Petroleum is so damn entrenched in corruption from the ministry down to the pump boy who cheats you off your balance change….. greater awareness and public action would be the only way out – what about a public audit of pumps by media – hidden cams ???. even the govt is least bothered on reforming the sector as they eat almost 50% of the money we pay for fuel as taxes.”

Public audit of selected petrol bunks for quality and measurement of fuel – has this ever been tried? Risky and dangerous business, sorry, I wouldn’t want to be a party to that.

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6 Responses

  1. i have no insider information into the industry, but in usa for sure the pumps are checked. i don’t know the frequency of these checks, and also, i have no clue whether there are any means to catch the dealers if the measures were altered immediately after the checks are conducted.

    are you saying no such checks are currently conducted on a regular basis at petrol outlets in india?

    – s.b.

  2. WoW! Who knew!
    An insider’s comment! Priceless!

  3. I Still remember munjunath – who was murdered for the trivia of doing a routine check.

    As you say pranav, the ministry down to the corrupt goons are the bane in the system. Hidden cams like sting operations are good options.

    The blame game is wonderfully played by all here. When ever this is a check and suspension, the bunk owners association blames that the tanker guy adultrated and they are mr clean and threaten strikes.

    The tanker guys need to be checked for quality when it reaches the bunk to catch both the culprits but who will bell the cat?

    LPG is a known source of cheating. The stamp of 14.2 KGS will never reach a home – at the most only 11 KGS reach due to pilferage of these suppliers at godowns.

    Sad story.

  4. @ s.b., I have heard these audits do happen, but is done by guys from these PSUs only, not a public or any real independent body.

    @ Mohan, I too remember that. And I know of some more cases where people have killed each other permits for opening petrol bunks.

    If all this is indeed true, then what surprises me is this. The so called ‘common man from middle class’ spends so much on petrol. It is a popular enough commodity for leaders or print/electronic media to pick up and make an issue of. For TV channels at least, this sort of story with sit so well with their audience. Why don’t the try to expose all this!?

    @ Chitra, for all that it is worth, this post got mention in Bangalore Mirror yesterday. Thanks Bala for picking it up.

  5. At the end of the day, the checkers, technicians, auditors, government all come from general public. Why blame them?

  6. Right Irfan, I do agree with that statement. Each person we blame is no special one dropped on us from the heavens. they all reflect us and our society.

    But, to move forward, the key is for us to participate and take interest. How do you break this vicious circle of self-indulgence that we are getting into? Don’t you think our society is moving straight from tolerance (we have been a patient and tolerant lot) to indifference (most folks with money don’t have the time to ‘care’, we are happy with our individual oasis’es we have built inside our homes) ?

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