Petrol pumps may close on Sundays

Dealers' union cites PM's call for fuel frugality as it seeks higher margins

Petrol pumps may close on Sundays

Petrol outlets in the state will be closed on Sundays and working hours will be reduced to a single shift from May 15 onwards, according to B R Ravindranath, president of the Karnataka Petroleum Dealers Association.

“We want to pressure the petroleum ministry to take up the issue of dealer margins. The Apoorva Chandra Committee had recommended a hike in 2011, but that is yet to be implemented,” he said.

The idea is not to cause inconvenience to the public, but only to make the government address dealers’ woes, he added.

He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had called for a reduction in fuel consumption, and the CIPD had requested its members to restrict working hours.About five lakh employees work at petrol pumps across the country, with a fifth being contract workers.

Bansal said a meeting on May 15 would chalk out a plan of action if the dealers’ demands were not met. The Consortium of Indian Petroleum Dealers (CIPD) has told its members to stop purchases on May 10 and keep pumps shut on May 14. The CIPD has called for fuel stations to shut down this Sunday.

The All India Petroleum Dealers Association (AIPDA) is not supporting the shutdown. Both associations want an increase in dealer margins. The associations are also divided over keeping their pumps shut on Sundays and working only an eight-hour shift on other days.

“We are not for shutting pumps. We are in talks with Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and officials of oil marketing companies for increased margins and a revised wage structure for our employees,” AIPDA president Ajay Bansal told DH from Delhi.

While the AIPDA claims it has 43,000 members, the CIPD says it has 28,000. The CIPD met on April 8-9 in Kurukshetra, Haryana, and decided on the move.

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