petrol bunk
Representative image of a petrol station (Creative Commons)Creative Commons

As India, especially Kerala touted to be God's Own Country is busy attracting tourists, an unacceptable act from a petrol pump owner in Kerala has pulled the whole nation to a state of shame. A couple of days back, a petrol pump owner in Ponkunnam, Kerala denied toilet facility for an old foreign couple who was on a visit in the state for sightseeing.

A video of the incident apparently shot by a local resident has now gone viral on online platforms, and many people have started criticizing the pump owner for behaving with foreigners in such a rude manner. In the video, the pump owner can be seen denying the requests of the foreign couple to use the toilet citing scarcity of water.

The petrol pump owner can also be seen shouting at the person who shot the video, and at one point in time, he even threatens the man by asking him to do whatever he can with the footage.

The incident came to limelight at a time when Kerala is claiming as one of the most developed states in India.

 A casual investigation by the International Business Times revealed that comfort stations across the National Highways in Kerala are pretty less in numbers. Hardly any comfort station could be located when one travels from Mannuthy to Valayar via NH 544, owned by the government or PWD. It should also be noted that Valayar is almost 83 kilometers away from Mannuthy, and during this journey, travelers often use hotels for their needs.

However, exceptions are there. One petrol pump named Gayathri Fuels located in Vadakkencherry, on NH 544, can be seen providing adequate toilet facilities to the public. When we talked to Praveen, the co-owner of Gayathri Fuels, he revealed that giving toilet facility is mandatory for petrol pumps.

"Yes, we do provide toilet facilities. You can see people going in and out of the toilets, and we have also made sure that it is being maintained in the most hygienic manner. However, the public should understand that petrol pumps are not mere comfort stations. For travelers, we provide toilet facilities even when they are not buying fuel from us. To be frank, I don't know much details about the Ponkunnam incident, and as a result, I cannot comment more about it. But I should say one thing, you cannot blame everyone just because of one single incident," said Praveen.

Praveen also made it clear that most of the petrol pumps in Kerala are offering toilet facilities, but he added that such rules are not followed properly in pumps across Tamil Nadu highways.