Concerned over most of the fuel stations along national highways not complying with norms for construction, the union government has sought a road map for rectification by this week from all oil companies, including Indian Oil and Hindustan Petroleum.
"Only 7% of existing retail outlets (in Punjab and Haryana) have been constructed following approved drawings, which is really a matter of great concern," the road transport and highways ministry has said in a communication to oil companies.
In an inspection of 996 retail outlets along NHs in both states, it was detected that only 636 retail outlets had obtained the ministry's approval, while only 66 retail outlets have been constructed as per approved drawings.
Taking a serious note of the issue, the ministry has said: "All oil companies will complete the exercise for compiling information (details of existing retail outlets and compliance of norms)... by July 19 and submit road map for rectification, if required for each case."
Besides, it decided to keep in abeyance access permission to retail outlets along NHs till the completion of the exercise.
"Till the completion of the above exercise, no more cases for granting access permission to retail outlets/service stations along NHs will be processed by the ministry," the ministry said in the letter.
It added that the ministry has been receiving a large number of complaints from public and transporters about the situation which is not at all desirable in order to ensure safe movement of traffic on national highways.
"Further, it should be the endeavour of the ministry as well as oil companies to ensure that all retail outlets constructed along NHs satisfy the ministry's norm and fulfil their obligations, which were part of the license/agreement entered into while opening the outlets," it added.
On July 4, a meeting was held by the ministry, headed by road transport and highways secretary Vijay Chhibber, to consider deviations with regard to the retail outlet norms. It was attended by senior officials as well as the representatives from IOCL, HPCL, BPCL and Reliance Industries among others.
Norms for the access for fuel stations, service stations and rest areas along national highways include safety measures such as length of carriageway, plot size, drainage and design of stations.