A proper grievances redressal mechanism should be formulated so as to prevent such situations in the future. Afterall, the price of petrol is not a joke to the pockets of common citizens.
By K Devajit
On the way to the office, I thought of refueling my Car, Hyundai i20, as it was running on reserve fuel for the past few days; all the more so because I fear a rise in fuel prices here too, encouraged and panicked by the ongoing crisis in Europe. I went straight from my residence at Singjamei to Moirangkhom Krishna Premi oil pump at around 9:44 am and asked the pump staff to get the fuel tank full with extra premium.
Shortly after paying exactly Rs 4,200, I started the engine and drove all the way towards Thangal Bazar. On reaching MG Avenue opposite Nirmala Bas School, my car suddenly gave a jerk and the engine stopped abruptly without any warnings. I feared if anything had gone wrong with the car’s engine. I got the car parked with help from some passers-by and tried to restart the engine several times but to no avail.
So, I went to Punya Hyundai and asked for their RoadSide Assistance. Luckily, they assigned me an expert who asked me what had actually happened to the car. I narrated everything, including yesterday’s travels. He confidently told me that it’s a pure case of fuel-related breakdown. To get it physically confirmed, he checked the fuel pipelines. When we checked the fuel, a liquid more similar to water ran out of the pipeline. He immediately confirmed the presence of a large quantity of water in my fuel tank.
He clearly told me it might have caused some damage to the engine, especially to the spark plugs. He suggested draining all the contents out of the fuel tank and refuelling so that we can try our luck with the ignition system. To which I said, “let me go and speak with any of the responsible Petrol pump persons who can take full ownership of all the hassles and damages if any. So, I went to the station with a bottle full of the contents from the fuel tank and told their staff I wanted to speak with someone who has authority on the matter. At first, they tried to ignore and pretend as if it wasn’t their fault. After some arguments, the staff called their manager.
The manager of the station turned up. I narrated the whole story to him and showed the payment receipt too. But still he was not convinced and ready to accept the situation and tried to avoid and ignore my request. After a few heated discussions, he agreed to come and do the examination.
The mechanic removed the content in front of them. To everyone’s surprise, more watery substance came out of the tank than petrol.
I demanded my money be refunded immediately along with any expenses to be incurred of all the damage caused to the car’s system if any. On a more serious note, I even raised the demand of replacing a whole new car, if need be, in the worst case scenario.
Initially, the manager turned down my demands and claims. He called up the proprietor’s son. In few minutes, he also turned up and started to show his rich man’s son attitude, trying to teach the technicalities of pump management instead of managing the crisis, to which I mostly tried to make him understand my situation.
Here also, I had to argue and counter argue to get the things done in broad daylight of Thangal Bazar. They agreed to my demands and claims only when a serious and nasty scene developed and other passers-by and shop owners intervened
Finally, they left the scene after agreeing to what I demanded and asked one of their old chaps to stay with us and take part in the entire roadside repair.
After all is said and done, the mechanic demanded merely Rs 1,500 as repair charges and they also refunded the whole amount. They also took away the adulterated petrol canister, saying they will further complain to IOC.
My major concern here is not the monetary part but the way these so-called Pump owners and the staff behave. They showed total lack of ownership and responsibility. They were so arrogant and high handed and had no regard for common people.
I, as a responsible citizen, feel that such issues need to be addressed at a proper platform so that the larger population becomes aware and certain corrective actions can be taken. A proper grievances redressal mechanism can be formulated so as to prevent such situations in the future. Afterall, the price of petrol is not a joke to the pockets of common citizens.