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Automated system for daily revision of fuel prices rings in, petrol pump owners upset

LiveMint logoLiveMint 11-06-2017 PTI

New Delhi: State-owned fuel retailers Indian, Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum have put in place an automated system to implement daily revision in petrol and diesel prices from 16 June even as a section of petrol pump dealers threatened to go on strike against the move.

The daily change in prices of petrol and diesel across the country follows the success of a pilot implementation in five cities.

“This move will ensure that the benefit of even the smallest change in international oil prices can be passed down the line to the dealers and the end users,” Indian Oil Corp. (IOC), the nation’s largest fuel retailer, said in a statement.

IOC said the seamless execution of the 40-day pilot in Chandigarh, Jamshedpur, Puducherry, Udaipur, and Vishakhapatnam has reassured all stakeholders on the efficacy of its implementation.

Federation of All India Petroleum Traders (FAIPT), which claims to represent most of the nation’s 54,000 petrol stations, said there will be “no purchase no sale” of petrol and diesel on 16 June in protest against the decision.

“Dealers of five cities where it was launched have already burnt their fingers. They are crying at the inventory loss that they have already suffered due the fluctuations in the daily changing prices on the inventory held by them,” it said in a statement.

FAIPT said 50% of petrol pumps sell on average 30 kilolitre of fuel per month. “One tank lorry of 18 Kl lasts most of such small dealers 7 to 10 days. Any such decision shall wipe out his entire working capital if the prices were to go down frequently,” it said.

Also, there are dealerships where a tank lorry takes two to three days to reach the petrol pump and in such cases there is a strong possibility that by the time the tank lorry reaches the retail outlet its price might have already reduced leaving the dealer to suffer losses.

“Extensive training of dealers will be held to ensure that customers do not face any pricing misinformation or glitches,” IOC said adding all its over 26,000 dealers will be given timely information on the effective prices at a pre-designated time—say 20:00 hrs for the next day.

At a large number of IOC’s 10,000 automated fuel stations, daily price can be automatically updated centrally, besides technology also provides to schedule the price change at midnight. At the non-automated petrol pumps, dealers would get the updated price by way of four distinct means: customised SMSs, e-mails, mobile app and web portal for dealers.

“These means of communication are also available to dealers of automated petrol pumps,” the statement said.

IOC said dealers have been carrying out price changes regularly. Similarly even now, the same system would continue, but on daily basis.

“Dealers will ensure price updation at their fuel stations before start of sale, every day. Updated prices will be immediately exhibited at all petrol pumps for information of the public,” the statement said.

IOC said the daily price revision is an initiative for ensuring the best possible prices to the customers as well as improved transparency on the pricing mechanism.

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