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Reliance plans 500 petrol pumps by year-end
Shweta Rajpal Kohli in New Delhi |
January 11, 2003 12:13 IST
Reliance Industries Ltd is moving ahead with its petroleum retailing plan and intends to set up a network of at least 500 outlets by the end of 2003.
The company was recently granted marketing rights for setting up 5,849 petrol pumps across the country.
"The process of land acquisition is taking place in full swing," Rajiv Chaturvedi, head (retail), Reliance Industries told Business Standard on the sidelines of the special session on 'The challenge in Retail' at the Petrotech 2003 conference.
"A sizeable part of the network will be up and running by the end of the year," he said.
The company has received close to 50,000 applications for land from across the country for setting up retail outlets. The company had invited applications in the month of August 2002.
"We have still not completed the process of screening the applications for land acquisition," said Chaturvedi.
The petroleum retail business of the company is expected to be put on a fast track after the launch of Reliance Infocomm.
Refusing to divulge details on when the first retail outlet will be opened, Chaturvedi said, "We are working on the prototype right now and should be ready with the model very soon."
Chaturvedi has recently been appointed by Reliance Industries as the retail chief to lead the company's foray into petro retailing.
He was earlier heading the retail division of Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd. A team of close to 150 people in the company are working on the petroleum retail foray.
The company will largely be focusing on the highways for opening its retail outlets. "We would naturally be aiming at the Western parts of the country initially due to proximity to the refinery," said Chaturvedi.
The states where the retail outlets are likely to come up include Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat.
The company is known to have roped in overseas consultants Tattersfield Minale and Flying J for designing the retail outlets.
Talking about the difficulties that new entrants will face in the industry, Chaturvedi said that the restrictions imposed by the government upon the new players for setting up the retail network will have to eventually be removed.
"The restrictions like servicing remote areas are understandable right now but should gradually be withdrawn after the opening up of the sector," he said.
He also said that the regulatory body that give new entrants a fair, transparent and a level playing field needs to set up at the earliest.
As far as customer acquisition is concerned, Chatuvedi said that brand differentiation and a fuel mix will play a key role in attracting customers in a competitive scenario.
"There would be an acceleration in the non-fuel business in the retail outlets," he said. "The overall impact of competition on the customers will be very good," said.