Tiruchy co-operative fuel outlet fails to cash in on crowd over ‘cash only’ option

Five years on, nearby shopkeepers say the outlet wears a deserted look most of the time, defying expectations.
The fuel outlet on Goods Shed Road was opened in July 2019
The fuel outlet on Goods Shed Road was opened in July 2019(Photo | MK ASHOK KUMAR)

TIRUCHY: Riding on expectations of drawing a significant footfall considering the many commercial establishments dotting the stretch, the Tiruchirappalli District Amaravathi Consumer Cooperative Wholesale Stores entered into an agreement with Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) to open a retail fuel outlet on Goods Shed Road in the city in July 2019.

Five years on, nearby shopkeepers say the outlet wears a deserted look most of the time, defying expectations. One need not look beyond the customers for answers when they point out the inconvenience they are put to by the pump turning down any payments except hard cash for about two years now. S Karthik of Raja Colony recounts the ordeal he had to undergo when he was told by those manning the pump that card payment was not accepted.

"I came to know about it only after filling petrol for Rs 300. Leaving the two-wheeler at the pump, I was then forced to find a nearby ATM to withdraw money and pay," he said. M Damodharan, an employee at a furniture outlet in Madurai Road said, "Most of us use debit or credit cards. Remitting money via mobile apps has become common even at petty shops. Against this backdrop, insisting on tendering cash for payment forces customers to skip the outlet in future. I went there two or three times. I later switched preference to another pump on the way home. Moreover, the outlet is located in an interior road which is less travelled."

While admitting there to be no facility for digital transactions, a senior official from Amaravathy cooperatives said they never let their customers face difficulties as the pump staff were instructed to inform beforehand about the absence of the provision. When contacted, Joint Registrar of Tiruchirappalli District Amaravathy Consumer Cooperative Wholesale Stores Limited V Thirupathi acknowledged the absence of facility to make digital payments.

He, however, stressed that any inconvenience to customers wasn’t intentional. Issues pertaining to payment of charges to private banks led to the suspension of digital transactions, he added. "Discussions to resume digital transactions within a week or two are on with The Tiruchirappalli District Central Co-operative Bank Limited," the joint registrar also said.

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