HYDERABAD: Next time you swipe your card at the nearest petrol pump, know that you are sitting on a tinderbox. In the last few days, several memes and messages have flooded social media platforms mocking the government’s decision, after demonetisation, asking one to go digital even while at the petrol pumps. The once “no mobile phone zones” are now hubs of digital transactions running into lakhs everyday.
An official communication from the Chief Controller of Explosives, Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO) to the ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gases, dated December 19, clearly restricts use of PoS units and mobile/e-wallets while refueling vehicles and directs need for prominantly marking the hazardous area (zone-1) around the dispenser.
Zone 1 is defined as the 1.2 metres area vertically above the base within the cabinet enclosure and 45 cms horizontally in all directions. Bringing this to the notice of cabinet secretary Pradeep Kumar Sinha, former vice-chairman of National Disaster Management Authority, M Shashidhar Reddy, on Saturday called for urgent steps to avoid digital payment at petroleum retail outlets for safety reasons noting the “exponential” growth in the use in PoS units/mobile e-wallets at such outlets after the note ban.
“It calls for prominently marking the hazardous area (Zone I) around the dispenser. As a person with experience in disaster management, I think this calls for urgent steps to ensure that these conditions are meticulously followed - as a preventive and preparedness measure.
This will also call for appropriate public awareness as a part of this”, he said. Reddy requested Sinha to direct Petroleum and Natural Gas secretary and chief secretaries of all states to comply with the advisory from PESO in a time-bound manner. “This is extremely important from the point of view of public safety consequent to their being pushed to the use of digital payment platforms post-demonetisation.”