Petrol bunks' one-shift threat fizzles out

Petrol bunks' one-shift threat fizzles out

Vehicle users in the City and elsewhere in the State can heave a sigh of relief as petroleum dealers have called off single shift work at petrol bunks.

The Akhila Karnataka Federation of Petroleum Traders (AKFPT) started its drive on Monday morning, demanding the revision of commission to dealers of petroleum products. The change did not last till Monday evening owing to a difference of opinion among dealers belonging to different public sector oil companies. The federation failed to mobilise support from many dealers within the City, coastal and north Karnataka regions, who rejected the single shift formula for different reasons.

Though Karnataka Petroleum Dealers Association chairman G V Bhushan Narang said on Monday evening that the strike would continue since the talks between dealers and the Union petroleum ministry had failed, many petrol bunks having dealership with Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) continued their operations beyond 6 pm. This led dealers from other two public sector oil companies, Indian Oil Corporation and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation to continue their operations, too, ultimately putting an end to the stir.

B R Ravindranath, president of AKFPT and the Bangalore Petroleum Dealers Association, told Deccan Herald that they had called off the strike, with a section of dealers in Bangalore backing off from the agitation. “Around 4:30 pm, a manager belonging to BPCL summoned around 40 dealers  and threatened cancellation of dealership if they participate in the stir.

We told dealers such cancellation of dealership was not legally possible. But out of fear they backed off from the strike,” he said.

The act of the BPCL management was unethical and undemocratic as the association had been fighting for legitimate demands, he said. Officials from BPCL said they only “requested” the dealers to continue the service at the petrol bunks and not to pose inconvenience to the customers. “There was no stipulation of cancellation of dealership licence,” said an official.

The single shift sales did not have much impact on vehicle users on Monday since it was a government holiday. Most bunks didn’t open till 9 am and not many customers faced problems, as all private bunks, including Shell and Reliance, had their operations on. “On Monday morning, I had problems in getting petrol but by evening the problem was resolved,” said Alex Silva, who works with an electronics company.

Petrol bunks in Hubli and Dharwad and other cities in north Karnataka operated as usual and there was no indication of a single shift formula, Karnataka Petroleum Dealers’ Association president Prakash Mirjankar said. Petrol bunks in 14 districts in the Bombay-Karnataka and Hyderabad-Karnataka regions, which come under the association, functioned as usual and said they were not associated with the AKFPT.

“We are affiliated to another unit of petroleum dealers called as the Federation of All-India Petroleum Traders, which has not given us intimation to go with single shift agitation plan. Excluding some recently opened petrol bunks, our association covers around 360 petrol bunks,” Mirjankar said.

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