IOCL vehicle tracking system removed from oil tanker
From a Correspondent
JORHAT, May 17: One aspect of IOCL is about the slow implementation of VTS (Vehicle Tracking System) on tankers entrusted to carry petroleum products from IOCL Tinsukia oil termil to various retail outlets across Assam, Manipur and Aruchal Pradesh wherein IOCL sales executives refer to the poor network connectivity in the State as the main obstruction towards the success of the project. The second aspect being about some tankers already fitted with the VMUs (Vehicle Mounted Units) of the VTS for live tracking through GPS (Global Positioning Satellite).
But a shocking revelation in the form of a third aspect exposing adulteration and the mixing business in absence of VTS monitoring has come to the fore after a leader of the nefarious oil mixing business active in the Khatkhati area of Upper Assam on condition of anonymity showed a IOCL owned and vehicle mounted unit of a VTS machine removed from a tanker on IOCL duty, thus allowing to take pictures of the gadget. Talking to The Sentinel, the gang leader said, "We have various pockets along the NH-37 where some tankers not fitted with VTS and moving out of the Tinsukia oil termil stop for either lunch or dinner. It is here that we unload 100 to 300 liters depending upon the situation and later mix the deficit with a mixture of kerosene and some petroleum by products chemicals. We have a committee to run this trade and the profit collected is distributed among tanker and petrol pump owners, besides company officials, some officers of the district administration, weights and measure department and police."
The leader further said, "In order to keep running the business, besides maintaining a low profile, we keep changing places. The backdrop of roadside dhaba is an ideal place for the trade. Basically it is a mobile business. In gaon some other committees run the business. They build large compounds behind roadside dhabas and one person nickmed Boka is the mastermind of the Kuthori area under Bagori police station. Similarly one rayan Das of Pila Basti under Khatkhati Tha, Dimapur based wal Singh origilly from Uttar Pradesh and one Sanjay Khan of Bokajan is active in the business at Karbi Anglong. And all those tankers entering the compound are without the VTS machine. Even the tanker owners keep quiet over non-fitting of the VTS because they are happy with the present earning mode. Some pump owners who have their own tankers or have hired other tankers to carry oil do not have the VTS installed. Even if it is installed it is just for show. They too are involved because it is next to impossible to survive on the genuine commission given by IOCL against each liter of oil sold to sustain station staff, besides persol profit. From what we saw in news channels, not everyone is like the Jorhat pump dealer who had recently expressed doubt over the colour and the density of the diesel and actually demanded a laboratory report from IOCL."
Nevertheless, the explosive disclosure has led the public to believe that the trade is continuing ubated undermining the guidelines and in gross violation of the directives of the Ministry of Petroleum and tural Gas. Meanwhile, another startling revelation has come to the light where after a detailed study it has been learnt that the tiol Disaster Magement Authority under the Ministry of Petroleum and tural Gas, in a meeting had mentioned that all RTOs (Regiol Transport Office) would be the nodal authorities and nodal point for information exchange of any change in route of the tankers. Clause 5.3 of the directive mentions, "If a POL carrying vehicle is not traceable for more than six hours, the primary responders including police, fire and medicos should be alerted through emergency information and alert sigls as planned."
But interestingly there was not any alert in the case of M/s Auto Sales pump in Jorhat on April 17 April this year after the owner had refused to unload the 12 KL tanker (AS 23 E 0731) dispatched by IOCL Tinsukia through Sahara Transport on April 16. The tanker arrived late by more than 12 hours after leaving the Tinsukia termil. As a general rule the IOCL Sales Executive based in Jorhat as well as gesh Singh should have first informed the RTO and the police after the tanker went missing for more than six hours (limit set by the petroleum ministry) of the scheduled arrival time. But question is whether they did so? In the event of a complaint and the subsequent downloading of data from the VTS, if fitted on the tanker, would have definitely identified the reason for the abnormal delay which in turn accelerated the pump owner's suspicion of adulteration of the product.
District Transport Officer (DTO) Ujjal Sarma while replying to a query over the RTO notification regarding oil tankers said, "Till now our office in Jorhat has neither received the necessary technical back up or any infrastructure, crew or assistance from any executives of OIL or manufacturing companies to execute coordition as laid down in the tiol Disaster Magement guidelines. I will be surprised if any RTO office of some other district of the State has this function. But I am ready to implement it as a pilot project in Jorhat if approached by OIL companies along with necessary backup."