Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Petrol pumps strike on next Monday, April 23 2012

Over 40,000 petrol pumps across the country will shut their outlets on next Monday to press their demand for raising their commission on petrol by about 27 paise per litre and diesel by 14 paise per litre as recommended by an official panel.

The association wants the government to implement the report of an official committee that recommended higher commissions and levy of user charges on services like filling up air and providing drinking water and toilets. Earlier, they were demanding a 5% commission. ET first reported it on Thursday.

The government has fixed delears' commission at 1.49/litre commission on petrol and 0.91 paise/litre on diesel.

"If government accepts our demand to implement the Apurva Chandra committee report and frame guidelines to open new pumps, we will call off our token strike of April 23, else we will even go for an indefinite closure from April 30," said Federation of All India Petrol Traders secretary general Ajay Bansal.

Besides, raising their commission, dealers oppose state oil firms' plan to open 12,000 new pumps in the same market that would reduce their sale and squeeze margins.

While the government is considering the committee's report, it is not sympathetic to their demand to stop opening new pumps, oil ministry officials said.

The ministry is considering implementing selective recommendations of the committee report, as it is apprehensive that allowing pumps to levy user charges would invite public rage, officials said.

Bansal said: "We want the government to implement its own committee's report in toto. It is surprising that the government is not willing to implement the report that was prepared by marketing directors of the three oil PSUs under chairmanship of the then joint secretary, Apurva Chandra."

Ministry officials said that imposing user charges could invite political oppositions during the Budget session of Parliament. The report proposes 2 user charge for filling air in a two-wheeler, 5 in a car and 20 in a truck or a bus. It also allows dealers to charge 2 from customers for using toilets and some nominal charges for drinking water.

"The dealership network is already reeling under the burden of 1% evaporation of petroleum products and 55% increase in minimum wages by state governments. Then, while increasing the price of petroleum products, government has not once increased the dealers' commission," Bansal said.

Petrol prices have been raised by 22/litre and diesel by 9/litre in the last two years without any substantial increase in delears' margin, he said.


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