‘Fuel on call’: Mobile diesel dispenser is a hit in north Kerala
Fuel stations are everywhere but non-vehicle users and small-scale units usually have to go an extra mile to fetch it. Solving this problem, a startup in Malappuram (north Kerala) has come up with a mobile diesel dispenser that can reach every nook and corner on a call of the consumer.
Fuel firm ‘Linshas Fabrics’, the brainchild of Hyder Ali and Kunhi Mohammad, two entrepreneurs in their fifties, was started last month. The duo claims the response has been really encouraging since its opening.
“Some of the officials of the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) in Kozhikode told us about the new-age concept and we started thinking about it. Initially, we brought a mini lorry and converted it to a tanker. It cost us ₹35 lakh. Gauging the demand, we added six more vehicles in a month,” said Ali.
He said that their dispensers carry 4000 litres of fuel and the size of the vehicle makes it easy to reach narrow lanes and steep locations. Vehicles will carry double-dispensing fuel pumps that ensure easy delivery. Now that they have seven dispenser vehicles, they are planning to extend the service to other areas of the state by adding more vehicles.
Both claimed that the service is the first of its sort, at least in south India. Hyder Ali owned a petrol station in Malappuram and Mohammad is an NRI from Japan who has experience in working with some oil refineries abroad.
Doorstep diesel delivery is approved by the petroleum ministry and it is a new concept of effective distribution of diesel. “Fuel on call will benefit the agricultural sector, hospitals, housing societies, heavy machinery facilities, mobile towers and many more industrial units,” said Ali, adding that now his firm has entered into an agreement with other oil majors like Hindustan Petroleum and Bharat Petroleum.
Ali said in Kerala the retailer commission while selling a litre of diesel is somewhere around ₹2.40 and they get the same but in faraway locations, they take service charge.
Shakeel Ahamad, an NRI doctor who is setting up a hospital near Manjeri, is among many who benefitted from the dispenser and lauded the initiative.
“While I was building a hospital on hilly terrain, I faced many problems including the need for fuel. We had to send people to fetch diesel every time and storing large quantities of it in barrels is also against the law. Now, the dispenser comes twice a week,” said Ahamad. Like him, many end-users said it turned out to be a boon for them because it prevents spillage and saves time.
“Since it is the first of its sort, there are some teething problems. We have to work out a price structure, commission and other formalities. We want to reach fuel at a call,” said a spokesman of the IOC in Kozhikode who did not want to be named.