Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas & Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Shri Dharmendra Pradhan today rolled out the allotment of New Retail Outlets (RO) by Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) by handing over the Letter of Intent(LOI) to a few eligible applicants. He issued the intimation online by click of button, to over 2500 successful candidates, who can collect their respective LOIs from the OMC offices. At the same time, such LOIs were also issued at 12 other places in the country.
Public Sector OMCs had advertised for 78,493 locations for setting up Retail Outlets across 35 States/ Union territories, for which more than 4 lakh applications were received. Network expansion has been an important activity of OMCs for increasing the reach of petroleum products across the country. The expansion will help them maintain their market leadership and expand the footprint in major geographical areas of the country. These OMCs already operate over 57,000 retail outlets presently.
Speaking on the occasion, Shri Dharmendra Pardhan underlined the importance of technology and transparency, with the computerized “draw of Lots/bids opening” for selection which was conducted with no manual interference for the first time. The hassles of manually submitting voluminous documents by the applicants, in support of eligibility and their scrutiny, was dispensed with. The software application was developed by MSTC limited, a PSU under the Ministry of Steel, keeping the OMCs at arm’s length from the selection process. He said that the selection of Common man in the selection process is indicative of the transparency, simplification of process, and availability of equal opportunity. With the allotment of present round of retail outlets, the pendency of over 5000 ROs, earmarked for SC quota, will also be completed. Shri Pradhan said that strike rate of over 30% in allocation of ROs is likely to be there leading to setting of thousands of ROs, and this will create lakhs of direct employment in these petrol pumps, besides opportunity for other associated and ancillary activities. He congratulated the OMCs for speeding up the process- the advertisements started appearing in November, 2018, bids were opened in January, and now the allotment process has already begun.
The Minister said that consumption of Petroleum products in the country is likely to continue to grow at around 4%, to meet the requirements of fast-increasing GDP. He said that in initial 60 years since independence, 13 crore LPG connections were given, and now the present government has given that many connections in under 5 years. He said that under the PMUY, 6.75 connections have been given to poor households. The Minister also said that allotment of so many connections has been accompanied with expansion of infrastructure like gas pipelines, setting up of bottling plants, distribution network etc, and all this has created large number of jobs. Shri Pradhan said that the Prime Minister will lay the foundation stone of about two thousand kilometre long LPG pipeline next week in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, which will be connected to Kandla, Gujarat, and this will be one of the longest such pipeline in the world.