You must have noticed attendants at fuel pumps coming up with innovative ways to divert your attention, just when they’re about to fuel up your car without resetting the meter to Zero. But that’s the corrupt attendant trying to fill his own little piggy. The owner of the pump needs his share too. So they rig the dispenser itself to ensure that you pay for the entire litre, but don’t get it in full.
Following up on complaints from customers on social media about being duped by fuel pump dealers, the legal metrology department conducted a state wide raid, wherein 11,000 total units were inspected, it came to light that several petrol pumps still rig their system to ensure short delivery. Amitabh Gupta, additional general of police and controller of legal metrology, under whose jurisdiction the raids were conducted, said, “Generally, it is impossible to provide the exact amount of petrol to customers so an error of 25ml for per 5 litre is generally accepted. But anything above that is a violation. In our inspection, we found that several units are saving over 30-50 ml of petrol per run. After receiving complaints on social media, action was taken on a suo moto basis. Now, several have been served notices, and until they provide clarifications, they will not be able to function.”
The department inspected 145 outlets and 1,734 units within Mumbai city, wherein 41 dispensing units were served notices to stop services, whereas, two units of Charkop Petroleum were seized altogether for erratic delivery. Not so surprisingly, the scam is not limited to the suburbs and violations were found at units in the south Mumbai area, while some of the centres that have been served notices are in Andheri, Bandra, Vile Parle, Khar, Bhandup and Chembur. The officials choose the centres at random and with engineers in tow, inspect the reading, pipes and meters with their own instruments. “We generally don’t go undercover, but directly approach them so that they don’t have the time to recover or hide anything,” said Gupta.
The raids have concluded that faulty meters are the most common way to cheat customers, as some centres rig their meters to start ticking even before delivery begins. So even as a customer assumes the tank is filling up, the pumps save more than 30 ml per five litre of petrol delivered. They use long pipes, wherein the meter shows that a certain amount of petrol has been pumped out, but it simply remains in the pipe and is pumped back in the unit. So the next time you fill up, you know what to check for. Although, you’d never know what black magic has been cast on the dispenser. We’d suggest, fill up at petrol stations you trust, or at company operated outlets when you’re away.