Petrol Dealers Allegedly Asked To Fuel Modi's Publicity For 2019 Or Face Supply Block
The state-owned oil marketing companies (OMCs) have allegedly issued a verbal advisory to petrol pump owners to put up pictures of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on billboards, and those who refused to do so will have to face the brunt of blockage in supply. Oil marketing companies (OMCs) have denied such claims.
According to The Hindu, Indian Oil Corporation (IOCL), Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) have issued these verbal advisories to the petrol pump retailers.
“No written communication”
The officials have asked the petrol pump owners to display the images ahead of the 2019 general elections.
According to the petrol pump owners, they were given these specific instructions by the area officer of the companies. Reportedly, the officials visited the retail outlets to convey the instructions of putting Modi’s picture on the billboards. The dealer association said there was no written communication between them, and that the instructions were coming from the territory manager and sales officers of the companies.
These suggestions include displaying hoarding promoting government scheme to provide LPG connections to Below Poverty Line families with Modi’s picture on it.
While speaking to The Print, the Consortium of Indian Petroleum Dealers (CIPD) said that the instructions were given to promote government social schemes like Pradhan Mantri Ujwala Yojana. They also said that the NDA government and the OMCs wanted to use petrol pumps as a mouthpiece for the Centre.
Officials denied allegations
However, the officials from the Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOC), India’s largest petrol retailer denied such claims. “No OMC has threatened to choke supply as the dealers are alleging. Also, the fact that many are saying that the petrol pumps are being used to promote Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s photographs is incorrect,” told the official.
He further said that they are just promoting the schemes. “Now many of the schemes have been initiated by this NDA-led government and therefore have his (Modi) photograph. So, while promoting the schemes, his photograph automatically comes up. There is nothing more to it.”
Spent Rs 2.93 billion for PM’s schemes publicity
According to The Wire, in July, public sector undertakings (PSUs) in the oil and power sectors had started aggressive campaigns to publicise the government’s flagship schemes.
It was reported that the IOC had issued a Rs 2.93 billion tender for free publicity for Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY).
Oil companies asking for personal data
Recently, the Consortium of Indian Petroleum Dealers (CIPD) showed their disapproval in providing personal data of its employees to the oil companies. The CIPD alleged that the government was profiling their employees on the basis of caste and religion and asking for such personal details would be a violation of employees’ fundamental rights.
The form inquiring for the personal data came in June. “They are asking for sensitive personal information like caste, religion and constituency of the employees. Such data collection by the government is a breach of privacy. We are going to court,” told a complaint to The Hindu.
The questions in the form included biographical details, marital status, mobile number, name of father/guardian, Aadhaar number, religion, caste, contact number, email address, number of years of experience and education level and bank information.
However, the OMC officials told the newspaper that these details were collected for the Recognition of Prior Learning scheme under the skill development ministry.