Display screens for fuel quantity should be properly visible at fuel stations: Par Panel
New Delhi: Fuel stations need to ensure that display screens of fuel quantity are properly visible for drivers and pipes used for filling vehicles should be longer if required, a Parliamentary panel suggested on Wednesday as part of efforts to protect the interest of consumers.
Parliamentary Standing Committee on Consumer Affairs, Food, and Public Distribution (2023-24) submitted a report in Parliament on “Regulation of Weights and Measures with specific reference to Dispensing Machines at Fuel Stations”.
The panel noted that OMCs (oil marketing companies) have implemented their standard operating practices at the retail outlets (ROs), whereby the deliverymen at dispensing units have been advised to show “zero” before the delivery is started.
As per the SOPs, customers visiting fuel stations are made to stand in such a way that they can see the display screen directly and that staff at the fuel stations request the customers to see a “zero” display on the screen to ensure fair transaction at fuel stations.
Complaint/suggestion books are available at all the fuel stations for consumers, who may raise their grievances regarding facilities/services / or any other issue.
The panel appreciated the existence of a consumer grievance redressal system in the retail outlets but said the mandate of consumer’s right to be protected in all possible ways.
“The committee understand that customers visiting fuel stations don’t have much time for seeking redressal of grievances and on many of the retail outlets, vehicles are made to park in such a way that the fuel vent of cars remains adjacent to the pipes which cause display screen slightly behind the driver’s seat and a bit higher for driver’s sight,” the report said.
Hence, the panel suggested that necessary directions should be issued so that “display screens at dispensing machines are placed to be made visible to the driver, and if need be, a longer fuel pipe should be used for fuelling the vehicle”.
The committee observed that the authorities and stakeholders face many challenges like accurate measurement, tempering and fraud, lack of regular inspection, consumer awareness, difficulties in remote monitoring, technological advancement, complex supply chain etc.
“In order to address these challenges and ensure fair practices at fuel stations, it is essential for Central and State regulatory authorities, fuel retailers, consumer advocacy groups and technology providers to work in better coordination,” the panel recommended.