According to the memorandum, the Director of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution (CAF and PD) made some serious but false allegations through news media on May 5 against two petrol pumps, namely Jas Gas station and Uripok Energy station.
It stated that the Director and his team of officials, accompanied by a security team conducted a surprise raid at Jas Gas station on the morning of May 4 where he claimed that 10KL of petrol and 12KL of (HSD) diesel were found in stock in the underground tanks despite the ‘petrol nil’ sign put up in front of the gas station and later concluded without proper verification that the pump was hoarding stock meant for distribution to the public.
The Director, after not getting any satisfactory replies from the manager and staff of the pump regarding the sign and the available stock, made statements regarding action against the retail outlet, closure of pump and termination of dealership before the media persons present there.
It clarified that IOC issued 10KL of petrol to Jas Gas agency on May 3 in split loads (shared compartment) with another 10KL of petrol meant for Kanhai and Sons of Thoubal in a 20KL tanker truck from IOC Malom Depot.
The tanker first went to Thoubal to supply the fuel quota as the key for the tanker was at the Thoubal station and then reached Jas Gas station at around 10.30 pm and the timing forced the tanker to be decanted or unloaded the next day at around 7.30 am.
The decanting process normally takes around one hour and it is a normal practice to wait 20-30 minutes for the slush or impurities present at the bottom of the underground tank to settle after it gets mixed with the newly unloaded product and the petrol nil sign is usually displayed during such times to stop customers from disturbing the pump attendants during their decanting work, it said.
It stated that the inspecting team arrived during the decanting process and, completely ignoring the active diesel sale by the pump, falsely alleged about hoarding of petrol and diesel.
On the other hand, when the official team led by the Director visited Uripok Energy station, the staff informed the officials that the pump had 3.4 KL of diesel and 1.7 KL of petrol including dead stock and that the consumable quantity of petrol over and above the dead stock was reserved for supply to Government offices such as DC Imphal West, Medical Departments etc while the consumable quantity of diesel over and above the dead stock was reserved for use by the dealer’s tankers, 10 in total, which frequently move to different destinations outside the State for bringing petroleum products.
All oil pumps of BPCL/NRL do not get their petroleum products supply from Malom Depot but from Numaligarh, Assam.
While checking the stock of diesel in the underground tank at the particular oil pump, the inspecting team smelt the diesel stuck on the dip used for inspecting the stock level and made irresponsible and casual comments that the diesel was spiked with kerosene without any kind of verification as per the Marketing Discipline Guideline issued by the Ministry of Petroleum and Oil Gases, which require proper sampling of the alleged product and testing in designated laboratories.
The statement made by the Director through the media was baseless and only meant to tarnish the image of the oil pumps in the eyes of the public.
It further claimed that the statement made by the Director accusing the pump owners of closing down as soon as any news about bandhs or blockades arrive, with the intent of profiting from the black market is misleading , defamatory and injurious to all oil pumps owners of Manipur.
It stated that the public, often on hearing such news have the habit of standing in long queues in front of oil pumps for stocking fuel for their use in a state of panic buying thus resulting in hoarding of petroleum products by the public.
Pointing out that the association had given an ultimatum to the Director to clarify regarding his statement through news media on or before May 7 but to no avail, it urged the Chief Minister to look into the matter and for the Director, CAF and PD to tender an official apology failing which the association would close all oil pumps indefinitely from tomorrow.
It further urged the Chief Minister to intervene and to settle the issue at the earliest so as to avoid unwanted incidents.
Source: The Sangai Express