In a move to make availability of daily use fuel for the consumers, even in far-flung areas, state-owned Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) has launched its dream project ‘home-delivery of diesel’ on a pilot basis in Pune and plans to expand its doorstep delivery to other parts of the country in near future, according to its Chairman Sanjiv Singh.
Besides, two other public sector fuel retailers, Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) and Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) will follow it soon.
The country’s biggest oil company has mounted a diesel dispenser, similar to the one seen at petrol pumps, on a midsized truck along with a storage tank for delivering the fuel at customers’ doorsteps in Pune.
“We are the first company to have started doorstep delivery after receiving clearance from the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO),” he said.
The doorstep delivery has been launched on a pilot basis in Pune and it would be expanded to other cities based on the response it gets during the three-month trial period, he said, adding that the same on petrol too would be started soon.
Initially, the company is targeting ‘static customers’ like shopping malls and commercial establishments that use diesel in gensets for producing electricity, and transport companies with large diesel consumption.
“Doorstep delivery is not a substitute for sale through retail outlets (petrol pumps). It is meant to serve consumers, say a farm harvester, for whom it doesn’t make sense to travel to a petrol pump just to refuel,” he said.
Like IOC, other two state-owned fuel retailers, Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) and Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) too have got PESO approval for a trial run of doorstep diesel delivery. They will be given different geographies for the trial run. Depending on the response, the trial run will be extended to other cities.
“We have to develop a business model for doorstep delivery,” Singh said adding mobile dispenser for door delivery of fuel can be used in areas where there is no petrol pump in a radius of 5-km.
Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan had in April last year stated that the government was looking at options to home deliver petrol and diesel to cut queues at fuel stations and give consumers an option. But, for home delivery of fuel, a clearance from PESO is required as both petrol and diesel are highly inflammable fuels and require adequate safety precautions. So far, PESO has given approval for doorstep delivery of diesel only on a trial basis.
India currently has 61,983 petrol pumps with state-owned firms operating 90 per cent of them. The country consumed 194.6 million tonnes of fuel in 2016-17, nearly 40 per cent of which was diesel. Diesel consumption in 2016-17 was 76 million tonnes, while petrol was 23.8 million tonnes.