No petrol bunk owner has been convicted for fuel short delivery in recent times
The fuel short delivery racket recently busted by the Cyberabad Police proved that a single fuel filling station was illegally making nearly Rs. 1.68 lakh a month, but the maximum punishment it gets for the offence is the imposition of Rs. 10,000 fine. Legal Metrology officials usually register case under the Legal Metrology Act against a fuel filling station if it is found to be resorting to fuel short delivery.
“A fuel station can carry on its business as usual on payment of fine. But, if it is caught indulging in it for the second time, another case will be booked, and the bunk owner will be prosecuted in a local court,” say Legal Metrology officials.
If the court finds the bunk management guilty of the charge, it can award a six-month imprisonment to the accused, besides imposing a fine of Rs. 10,000.
The authorities can also invoke other sections of the Act to impose a Rs. 25,000 fine on the bunk in case of a second offence.
However, the officials admit that they do not have a single instance of securing punishment to any errant fuel station owner in recent years. “Imposing a Rs. 10,000 fine on a fuel station for looting lakhs of rupees is a joke. In fact, managements get emboldened to indulge in short fuel delivery because of such ridiculous amounts.
“When the government increases the fine for signal jumping from Rs. 100 to Rs. 1,000, why can’t it enhance the fine imposed on errant bunks,” observes Srinivas Raju of Alwal. He also faults the system of allowing fuel stations to sell fuel even after they are found cheating consumers. For example, all 10 petrol bunks, which were found indulging in fuel short delivery, started functioning from the very next day. But, the authorities also point out that a fuel filling station has a number of fuel dispensing machines, and hence, the tampered one is sealed off while letting others to function.