Kolkata: Retail petroleum dealers have complained of receiving lower quantity of fuel from oil tankers which they say has risen sharply in step with surging fuel prices.
Oil Marketing Companies (OMC), however, rubbished the claim saying there is no room for dispute as proper checks are already in place.
"The short supply of fuel was always there but the difference has now jumped sharply. The minimum shortage we are experiencing now is 50 litres which can go up to 100-120 litres," West Bengal Petroleum Dealers Association president Tushar Sen told PTI.
A standard fuel reservoir is of 12,000 litres capacity. Despite taking up the matter at the highest level, things have only worsened. More automation is needed to make the process foolproof, he said.
"There is need to fit some kind of flow meter in the fuel storage tank to measure the flow of fuel into the tank," he said.
OMCs say they have taken all steps to ensure that quantity dispute does not arise.
"From the terminal level, supply to the tankers is legal metrology stamped and calibrated flow meters are in oil carriers with special locks. The lock can only be opened by the dealer," Indian Oil spokesperson Alok Singh said.
Both petrol pump dealers and OMCs acknowledge off-the-record that the main problem of pilferage lies with the oil carriers during their travel to the dealer. A Bharat Petroleum official, who did not wish to be quoted, said it is not right to blame the oil companies.
"There is provision to write a note of actual quantity receipt and then the dealer will get credit and a debit will be initiated for the tanker," he said.
At least 30-50 per cent of the dealers already own their oil carriers, the OMCs said. An Oil Tankers Association office-bearer declined to comment on the issue.
Meanwhile, the BPCL official said a new automation system of geo-fencing is being tried out. The technology is supposed to track and prevent opening of the lock of an oil carrier until the vehicle reaches the exact coordinate of the dealer's location.
"It will match the latitude and longitude of a location before it allows to open the lock," the official said....