Fuel Traders To Join Strike, Shut Pumps From Sept 20
As many as 350 petrol dealers from the city will join the nationwide indefinite strike called by the Federation of All-India Petroleum Traders (FAIPT) from September 20.
Federation vice-president Babasaheb Dhumal told a news conference here on Wednesday that the petrol dealers had been pressing their demands for the past two years and they had decided to join the strike with the government not relenting. Of the 36,500 petrol pumps in the country, the state has 3,800. In Pune, nearly 120 pumps are in city, 70 in Pimpri-Chinchwad limits and 160 in rural areas.
Petrol Dealers Association of Pune spokesperson Ali Daruwalla said the dealers were running into huge losses as they also had to cater to 25 lakh employees working in these pumps. “We have met several officials regarding our demands, but to no avail. The managing committee of FAIPT is now compelled to take a decision for the larger interest of approximately 1.75 crore people and keep the pumps shut indefinitely till the demands are accepted.”
Their demands include, among other things, increasing dealer’s margin, reciprocal system of quality checks, uniform rates of petroleum products and security at petrol pumps. Daruwalla said they had been demanding the increase in margins owing to a rise in expenses. “The minimum wages of our staff have been revised from 33 per cent to 42 per cent. Power and water tariff too have increased. When the Central government needs money, they increase excise and custom duties; the state government increased VAT/sales tax and when oil companies need money, they increase prices of fuel; we have been left out.”
He said the two per cent commission saw a loss of one per cent in evaporation of petroleum products and other costs. “One per cent is very minimal to run the petrol pump and pay the staff and electricity charges.”
The dealers also want the government to avoid giving new sanctions to petrol pumps as the new pumps were affecting the business of the existing dealers. The dealers from many states have made representations and some high courts had accepted the plea and stayed new petrol pumps. Their other demands include a proper system of quality checks, uniform rates of petroleum products and installation of CCTV cameras and other security equipment by oil companies.