Shops in villages sell petrol that is poured into empty mineral water bottles
Rahul Dass | April 22, 2017 | New Delhi
A plan to home-deliver petroleum products may look like an out-of-the-box idea, but it is not exactly a new one.
Petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan tweeted: “Options being explored where petro products may be door delivered to consumers on pre booking. This would help consumers avoid spending excessive time and long queues at fuel stations.”
While travelling through the rural hinterland, at regular intervals on village roads one can spot shops that have fuel bottles. It is a common sight.
So, how does it work? The shop owner buys petrol in bulk and then pours it in empty mineral water bottles. The fuel bottles are neatly placed on a table near the road. It is kept away from the shop to ensure that in case it catches fire, no harm would come to the shop.
The fuel cost is slightly higher than the petrol pump price. Villagers use it to tank up their motorcycles since it helps them in avoiding the hassle of travelling to a distant petrol pump.
The government plan is in a way bringing fuel close to people who do not have access to petrol pumps. It seems to be easier to implement in urban areas, rather than in rural areas. Many villages are located, which may well be described as back-of-beyond. Providing any service whatsoever is a huge challenge. How the government proposes to reach those areas is not clear at the moment.
There are over 150 million two-wheelers in the country, while the number of cars and jeeps stands at nearly 30 million. The number of buses is around 2 million. It would certainly motor vehicle owners who sometimes get stranded when their fuel tanks run dry.
The nitty-gritty of this new plan needs to be looked at. Would the fuel be packaged in bottles or would there be tetra-packs? Would the consumer have to show their Aadhaar cards to be eligible for the scheme?
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