18 April 2022 1:00 PM GMT
The Patna High Court has directed the Central and State Governments to submit a detailed report on the issue of non-availability of adequate number of petrol pumps on National and State Highways. Expressing concern over the problems being faced by the people passing through these highways, the Division Bench of Chief Justice Sanjay Karol and Justice S Kumar observed,"It is unfortunate...
The Patna High Court has directed the Central and State Governments to submit a detailed report on the issue of non-availability of adequate number of petrol pumps on National and State Highways.
Expressing concern over the problems being faced by the people passing through these highways, the Division Bench of Chief Justice Sanjay Karol and Justice S Kumar observed,
"It is unfortunate that in Bihar, the oil distribution companies have not exhibited any interest in setting up retail outlets, either on the National or the State Highways within the State of Bihar...It is rather unfortunate that even today, one finds petrol/diesel being sold in bottles, openly displayed, dangling from the wooden poles, more so, on all the National Highways, projecting a very poor and primitive picture of the State of Bihar."
The development ensued in a suo motu case for monitoring the NH projects in the state.
The Court observed that the year 2018 onwards, no survey for assessing the demand has been conducted by any one of the oil marketing companies. Also, it appears that more than one thousand applications are pending consideration with the State Government/functionaries in relation to which Letters of Intent already stands issued way back in the year 2018 or immediately thereafter. In these cases, the matter is stuck due to non-objection certificate from the DM of the district.
At least 457 petrol pumps, which were sanctioned in the year 2018, have yet not become functional and operational, the Court noted.
It inquired as to how many petrol pumps have been allowed to open on the state/ national highway.
Advocate General Lalit Kishor, appearing for the state, assured that the matter shall be taken up at the highest level and directions will be issued for taking necessary action at the earliest.
The court stated that before passing any further order, it would require the oil marketing companies, including Gas Authority of India Limited to furnish fresh information as to by when the demand survey can be conducted and completed in all respect.
In the last hearing, the court had sought to know number of petrol pumps in the national and state highways are in operation. On Friday, the Court stated that it appears that the figure furnished by the oil distributing companies, more so, the Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited may be understated, as such, it directed the State Heads of all the marketing companies to furnish correct information by way of their personal affidavits, which may be handed over in Court, with advance copies supplied to all the counsel appearing for the respective parties.
Also, keeping in view the expansion, population and number of vehicles in the state, it sought to know how many more petrol pumps need to be opened.
Expressing concern, the court said that there is a lack of basic facilities for the people at these petrol pumps in the state. There is no provision of basic facilities like drinking water, medical kit, toilet etc.
The court directed that information shall be made available on all these important issues.
The court observed that there is a dearth of other civic amenities including petrol pumps on the state national highways and state highways. Why have the governments not taken any thought so far to overcome this shortcoming, it asked.
Senior Advocate PK Shahi appeared for the petitioner. Advocate General Lalit Kishor appeared for the state and KN Singh, ASG appeared for the Centre.
Case Title: National Highway Projects in the state of Bihar v. State of Bihar
Coram: Chief Justice Sanjay Karol and Justice S Kumar
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