The northeast has more diesel-vending ‘mobile browsers’ than most parts of the country, Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) officials said.
The nation’s largest fuel retailer had in March 2018 launched the door-to-door diesel delivery service in Maharashtra’s Pune. The diesel-dispensing trucks are approved by the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation.
“These diesel outlets on wheels, which we call mobile browsers, are gaining popularity across the country but not at the rate seen in the northeast,” G. Ramesh, Executive Director and IOC’s Assam head said.
Mountains and river-dominated plains, difficulty in acquiring suitable land, and the high cost of setting up a fuel station are the primary reasons, officials said.
Northeast India currently has 43 mobile browsers catering to remote areas, construction sites, and mobile towers in far-flung areas that run on diesel generators. The figure is “healthier” than the rest of the country, Mr. Ramesh said.
“A mobile browser carrying up to 6,000 litres of diesel is convenient and entails an investment of ₹25 lakh, a pittance compared to what a fuel station entails,” K.V. Ramanamurthy, Chief General Manager (Operations), IOC, said.
The mobile browsers have played a significant role in IOC’s turnover from the region, officials said while outlining an investment of ₹102.72-crore in Northeast India. These include two biogas plants at Lumding and Betkuchi in Assam, underlining the oil major’s bid to diversify into renewable and non-conventional energy.
Watch on toilets
The IOC has sounded the operators of fuel stations along highways to ensure the maintenance of toilets.
“There are reports of ill-maintained toilets that dissuade travellers from using them. We would appreciate feedback on IndianOil ONE, the customer-centric app, on the condition of the toilets,” Mr. Ramesh said.