The All India Petrol Dealers Association (AIPDA) has decided to move to court against the Centre’s decision to allow oil marketing companies to double the fuel retail outlets over the next five years. Questioning the legal validity of the decision, the AIPDA said that the move is contrary to the government’s own policy of closing down petrol pumps and replacing them with alternative fuels by 2025, a top official said on Wednesday as reported by news agency IANS.
“On one hand, the Centre has announced the closure of petrol pumps in India replacing them with alternative fuels by 2025. But, now they are publishing advertisements for allotting the second string of new petrol pumps. So what exactly is this policy?” AIPDA President Ajay Bansal told the news agency.
As of now, there are as many as 56,000 retail petrol pumps across the country which are run by the three state-owned oil market companies namely Indian Oil Corporation, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL), Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL). Indian Oil owns 26,982, BPCL owns 15,802, while HPCL has 12,865 fuel outlets.
IOC, which already has 27,377 petrol pumps across the country, has advertised for setting up 26,982 more in states that are not going to polls. BPCL will add 15,802 outlets to its existing strength of 14,592 and HPCL would add 12,865 petrol pumps to its existing tally of 15,287.
Ahead of general elections, public sector oil companies plan to allot about 65,000 petrol pumps across the country to nearly double the existing retail network, officials said on Sunday.
HPCL’s state-level coordinator Vishal Bajpai said, “For a fast-growing economy like ours, energy needs are growing manifold. PSU oil marketing companies are undertaking retail outlet (petrol pump) network expansion in tandem with the growth in demand for petrol and diesel. Retail sales of petrol and diesel are increasing at the rate of approximately 8 per cent and 4 per cent per annum.”
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The retail outlet network in rural, remote and far-flung areas is also being expanded with the intention of increasing availability of products, predominantly diesel, ensuring quality and correct price to meet the rural agricultural demand and cater to people in remote areas, he said.
(With agency inputs)