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IOC doing little to check petroleum pilferage

By Ron Duarah

DIBRUGARH, March 22 � A single, simple step to contain large-scale allegations of petrol, diesel and kerosene pilferage by tankers carrying these from IOC (Indian Oil Corporation) terminals to dealers of petroleum products is yet to ideate in the grey cells of the highly paid mandarins of this public sector behemoth. This step, as proposed by several petroleum dealers, is the installation of flow meters on the dealer�s premises, so that the amount of kerosene or diesel or petrol is easily and firmly quantified.

However, the IOC personnel would hear none of this. They want to stick to the old time mandate of making a tanker stand for four hours, take density readings and those of the dip sticks, to arrive at quantity and quality of the fuel to be unloaded. Dealers say the dip stick method of quantifying fuel in tankers is not at all reliable, as tanker drivers and other staff have innovated enough to outsmart the dip sticks.

It is a common allegation that petroleum dealers often have to �adjust and live with� lesser delivery of fuel at their sites, as complaints mostly boomerang on them.

In a recent case in the city, one tanker driver was caught red-handed delivering 150 litres less than the 12,000 litres of diesel at the Orient pump here. The driver confessed to the pilferage and a police complaint was lodged. The result is that the union of tanker drivers went on a wild cat strike and throttled up fuel supplies to upper Assam, Nagaland and Manipur for four days.

Instead of taking action, the owner of the fuel pump was asked to adjust with �minor pilferages�. Worse, some of the IOC personnel put pressure on the pump�s management to withdraw the police complaint. Worst of all, this fuel pump has been deprived of diesel and petrol replenishments for about a month now, though the pump owner has intimated that they have not violated any law or procedure. This pump is run by a team of authorised female staff and their human rights have been violated by the IOC by denying them a livelihood.

That third party fuel transporters often resort to fuel pilferage is common knowledge. Just three days ago, the police here arrested a tanker driver for trying to pilfer a tanker full (12,000 litres) of kerosene, that was to be delivered to a dealer here, but was being taken towards Sivasagar. The owner of the tanker, one Sivasagar based Subhash Agarwalla, is absconding. In the Sepon Chakalia area of the Dibrugarh district, some persons running roadside eateries have specialised in taking out LPG gas from bulk gas carriers and filing these in ordinary LPG cylinders. After the traffic of bulk LPG went down, these racketeers now take out gas from LPG cylinders from trucks carrying the refills and transfer the looted gas to other cylinders, for subsequent sale to end consumers. The activity is carried out with the police looking the other way, in return for a thanksgiving.

So what do the pump owners do when they get lesser quantities of diesel and petrol from the tankers, despite the supposedly fail safe precautions by IOC? The pumps dispense lesser fuel to their customers, to compensate for their loss and also to earn some extra in the process. Many of the pump owners are themselves lured by easy profits, due to which one comes across allegations that kerosene is used to adulterate diesel, and in the case of petrol, the end customer is short changed.

In all this, the IOC has not done enough to check either adulteration of short changing. Despite the fact that both these nuisances can be easily checked by some vigilance and by introducing gadgets like reliable and calibrated flow meters and by ensuring that the fuel dispensing machines are made tamper proof.

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IOC doing little to check petroleum pilferage

DIBRUGARH, March 22 � A single, simple step to contain large-scale allegations of petrol, diesel and kerosene pilferage by tankers carrying these from IOC (Indian Oil Corporation) terminals to dealers of petroleum products is yet to ideate in the grey cells of the highly paid mandarins of this public sector behemoth. This step, as proposed by several petroleum dealers, is the installation of flow meters on the dealer�s premises, so that the amount of kerosene or diesel or petrol is easily and firmly quantified.

However, the IOC personnel would hear none of this. They want to stick to the old time mandate of making a tanker stand for four hours, take density readings and those of the dip sticks, to arrive at quantity and quality of the fuel to be unloaded. Dealers say the dip stick method of quantifying fuel in tankers is not at all reliable, as tanker drivers and other staff have innovated enough to outsmart the dip sticks.

It is a common allegation that petroleum dealers often have to �adjust and live with� lesser delivery of fuel at their sites, as complaints mostly boomerang on them.

In a recent case in the city, one tanker driver was caught red-handed delivering 150 litres less than the 12,000 litres of diesel at the Orient pump here. The driver confessed to the pilferage and a police complaint was lodged. The result is that the union of tanker drivers went on a wild cat strike and throttled up fuel supplies to upper Assam, Nagaland and Manipur for four days.

Instead of taking action, the owner of the fuel pump was asked to adjust with �minor pilferages�. Worse, some of the IOC personnel put pressure on the pump�s management to withdraw the police complaint. Worst of all, this fuel pump has been deprived of diesel and petrol replenishments for about a month now, though the pump owner has intimated that they have not violated any law or procedure. This pump is run by a team of authorised female staff and their human rights have been violated by the IOC by denying them a livelihood.

That third party fuel transporters often resort to fuel pilferage is common knowledge. Just three days ago, the police here arrested a tanker driver for trying to pilfer a tanker full (12,000 litres) of kerosene, that was to be delivered to a dealer here, but was being taken towards Sivasagar. The owner of the tanker, one Sivasagar based Subhash Agarwalla, is absconding. In the Sepon Chakalia area of the Dibrugarh district, some persons running roadside eateries have specialised in taking out LPG gas from bulk gas carriers and filing these in ordinary LPG cylinders. After the traffic of bulk LPG went down, these racketeers now take out gas from LPG cylinders from trucks carrying the refills and transfer the looted gas to other cylinders, for subsequent sale to end consumers. The activity is carried out with the police looking the other way, in return for a thanksgiving.

So what do the pump owners do when they get lesser quantities of diesel and petrol from the tankers, despite the supposedly fail safe precautions by IOC? The pumps dispense lesser fuel to their customers, to compensate for their loss and also to earn some extra in the process. Many of the pump owners are themselves lured by easy profits, due to which one comes across allegations that kerosene is used to adulterate diesel, and in the case of petrol, the end customer is short changed.

In all this, the IOC has not done enough to check either adulteration of short changing. Despite the fact that both these nuisances can be easily checked by some vigilance and by introducing gadgets like reliable and calibrated flow meters and by ensuring that the fuel dispensing machines are made tamper proof.

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