In October 2017 , the government had announced discounts on Petrol & Diesel if the payment is made through the BHIM app or by swiping a card at a petrol pump. But can mobile e-wallets be used inside a petrol pump? What do the rules say?
The Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MEITY) announced discount on Petrol & Diesel if one were to pay using the BHIM app or swipe a card for payment.
Pay less for buying petrol and diesel by making #digitalpayments. #DigitalIndia @rsprasad @KJAlphons pic.twitter.com/ZovUlgxzNZ
— STPI (@stpiindia) October 11, 2017
But can we use the mobile inside a petrol pump to make payments? What do the rules say? Do they demarcate an area where mobile phones cannot be used?
What are these rules?
The Petroleum Rules 2002 lay down norms & standards to protect the public from danger arising from the import, transport, storage, production, refining or blending of petroleum. Among other things, the rules also demarcate hazardous zones around a petroleum retail outlet, commonly known as the petrol pump. Rule 103 of the above mentioned rules define hazardous area as an area where
- Petroleum having flash point below 650 C or any inflammable gas or vapour in a concentration capable of ignition is likely to be present.
- Petroleum or any inflammable liquid having flash point above 650 C is likely to be refined, blended, handled, stored at above its flash point.
Further, rule 104 classifies the hazardous areas into 3 types.
- A ZONE 0 area, if inflammable gas or vapours are expected to be continuously present in the area
- A ZONE 1 area, if inflammable gases or vapours are likely to be present in the area under normal operating conditions
- A ZONE 2 area, if inflammable gases or vapours are likely to be present in the area only
under abnormal operating conditions or failure or rupture of an equipment
What is the extent of these Zones?
The petroleum rules also define the extent of these zones
- ZONE 0 is usually the underground tank area where petroleum is stored
- ZONE 1 is the area 1.2 meters vertically above the base within the cabinet enclosure and 45 cms horizontally in all directions
- ZONE 2 is the area between 45 cms and 6 meters of the cabinet extending 45 cms vertically above the floor/grade level.
POS Units & Mobile e-wallets cannot be used within these zones
The Petroleum & Explosives safety organization had written to the government in December 2016 clarifying that there would be no objection for the use of POS units & mobile e-wallets beyond the hazardous areas. But they cannot be used within these hazardous areas. The letter also says that Zone 1 should be prominently marked in petrol pumps.
What can you do?
The next time you visit a petrol pump, check if Zone 1 is prominently marked. Take it up with the petrol pump operator and ensure the markings are made. Also check if POS units and mobile e-wallets are being used within the hazardous areas.
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I think this is mixing 2 different topics. Fuel stations being hazardous is one truth but mobile phones and POS causing danger in these is not valid in my opinion and there has been no proof of them causing any hazard. Lot of countries with self-fueling have POS built into the fuel pumping station itself.