PM nixes Moily's plan to shut petrol pumps at night

PM nixes Moily's plan to shut petrol pumps at night

 Hours after making a proposal to shut petrol pumps during night, Petroleum Minister Veerappa Moily on Monday made a hasty retreat following severe criticism from political parties, as well as the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).

“I have not mooted this proposal to shut petrol pumps at all,” Moily told reporters. “We are toying with ideas which have come to us. That doesn’t mean we have accepted them or are enforcing shutdowns,” he said.

Even as the Opposition called the move “imposing a curfew-like situation and economic emergency on the people,” the PMO rejected the proposal.

CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta said: “It’s like curfew. We are heading towards an economic emergency.”

“The country’s present situation can be termed an economic emergency. Doing this will only worsen it,” BJP leader Yashwant Sinha said in response to Moily’s proposal.

In the Rajya Sabha, the CPM, CPI and the Trinamool Congress members staged a walkout. The House was adjourned for a while following an uproar over the fuel price hike. The members also criticised the suggestion to shut the petrol pumps during night.

Raising the issue during the Zero Hour, Prashanta Chatterjee of the CPM said it was unfortunate that the petrol and diesel price hikes were announced outside Parliament. He demanded roll back of the decision.

M Venkaiah Naidu of the BJP rued that the government’s “totally anti-people” decision came without taking Parliament into confidence.

Derek O’Brien of the Trinamool Congress said the government has declared a war on the common man. He also ridiculed Moily for his “ill-conceived and ill-thought idea.”
In the Lok Sabha, Left MPs resorted to sloganeering against the fuel price hike. This was the sixth hike in as many months.

Later in the day, the Oil Ministry said in a statement: “There is no proposal under consideration of the government to allow sale of petroleum products from retail outlets only during certain hours.”

Congress spokesperson Renuka Chowdhary also clarified that shutting petrol pumps during night was one of the many suggestions before the Petroleum Ministry. “There is no question of petrol pumps being shut during night,” she said.

Moily on Sunday said in Bangalore that there were various proposals before the ministry to conserve the transport fuel and help the government save dollars. One among them was shutting petrol pumps during night.

Petrol sector analyst Narendra Taneja said such a restriction would lead to adulteration and encourage black-marketing. He suggested levying night surcharge on fuel.

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