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Oil cos fuel rural land price spurt

india Updated: Oct 12, 2006 01:42 IST
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RURAL LAND prices along highways in UP are going through the roof.

Why? Because private and public sector oil marketing companies have gone into an overdrive to provide world-class traveller amenities, alongside existing retail outlets, across the State.

All the oil marketing companies are currently looking at generating revenues from public utility services, such as clean toilets and bathing zones, besides development of “highway dhabas” and multi-cuisine restaurants. They aim to maintain global standards in hygiene and customer service.

Reliance Petroleum Ltd (RPL), with a  network of 47 state-of-the-art “company-owned company operated” (COCO) retail outlets, unleashed a scramble for prime land among public sector oil marketing companies to develop similar facilities along the highways. The RPL outlets comprise food plazas, entertainment zones and large parking lots.

As a result, the land prices along the UP’s highways have escalated as much as 25 per cent over the past one year. Average land prices are currently estimated at Rs 3,000 to 3,500 per square metre on most high-density traffic routes. The average land required by oil PSUs to develop traveller amenities is estimated at 2 to 2.5 acres per retail outlet, says a senior official of an oil PSU.

Each of the RPL’s retail outlets have a developed area of 1,000 sqm. Its parking lots with highway facilities, such as food plazas, are spread over an area of  2,000 to 3,000 square metres.

The public sector Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) recently inaugurated ultra-modern traveller facilities at its retail outlet in Mawai, about 75 km from Lucknow.

The outlet is spread over 4.25 acres. The BPCL is to develop 260 “Truckers’ Stop” formats, alongside its retail outlets across the country. UP figures prominently  in the company’s plans to set up more such outlets in the coming months.

“We are ready to confront the problem of land price escalation along UP’s highways to set up more ultra-modern amenities alongside the company’s retail outlets,” IOC (UP State office) general manager S C Meshram told HT.

The Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), with  its 16 “Swagat” brand of ultra-modern retail formats along the State’s highways, is looking at opening four more outlets in the coming months, he said. Meshram said the IOC had 40 “COCO” retail outlets in UP. The company has already established 116 Kisan Seva Kendras (KSKs) near its retail outlets, while 128 more will be established by the end of the current fiscal.

The HPCL is also setting up ultra-modern retail formats and traveller amenities, alongside its “flagship outlets”, which have already become operational in some parts of the State. A number of other existing outlets would be modernised soon, stated a company official.