Petroleum dealers to go on nationwide strike
Petroleum dealers across India will not be making purchases from the oil marketing companies (OMCs) on November 3 but continue to sell fuel, and go on a full-fledged strike on November 15 in a protest against their declining margins, a representative informed on Wednesday.
“All India Petroleum Dealers Association (AIPDA) has already launched a pan-India protest. Petroleum dealers will observe no purchase strike on Thursday (November 3) and we will neither buy nor sell oil on November 15,” said Saradindu Pal, AIPDA’s West Bengal unit General Secretary.
“We have been saying to increase the dealers’ commission to 5 per cent from the existing rate of 3 per cent,” he added.
Even though AIPDA has claimed strike on November 3, other associations have been claiming the strike for two consecutive day’s viz. November 3 and 4.
“This may trouble customers, but we have no other options. If issues are not resolved, many of us have to leave the trade,” Tushar Kanti Sen, West Bengal state association president told a media agency.
Reportedly, the central government has called for a meeting with national office bearers of petroleum dealers on November 4. In a report of Times of India, it quoted Uday Lodh, state president of Federation of All Maharashtra Petrol Dealers Association (FAMPEDA) as saying that it would not impact Nov 3-4’s no purchase decision. “Around 95% petroleum dealers in the state are incurring financial losses since five years. The commission paid to them only covers expenses on staff, power, water bills, maintenance etc. Revision in commission is our major demand,” he added.
BR Ravindranath, president, Bangalore Petroleum Dealers Association (BPDA) informed Times of India, “We also have problems with the unscientific hikes in diesel margin and lack of transparency in evaluating transportation of fuel trucks.”
It has been reported that the drivers will be facing inconvenience only if petroleum dealers continue with further course of agitation. FAMPEDA has decided pumps will operate only between 9AM and 6PM from November 5 onwards. Also, they will be closed on second and fourth Saturdays and all Sundays. While BPDA president, in a report, said it will be decided shortly.
It is to be noted that over 54,000 fuel outlets throughout the country are expected to participate in the strike.
Dealers now get commission of Rs 2.42/litre on petrol and Rs 1.49/litre on diesel. FAMPEDA is demanding Rs 2.95/litre on petrol and Rs 2.10/litre on diesel.
This comes in a step further for the previous protests, where on October 19 and 26, no fuel was sold between 7-7:15PM, calling out complete black out as all lights were switched off. November 3 and 4 would see all-purchase strike across the nation, and November 15 will be complete strike.
Some of the demands of the organization are; Increase in monthly payment of dealers from Rs 12,000 per month, No increasing ethanol percentage in petrol until infrastructure suitable for ethanol is ready, Increase in allowed evaporation from .6% on petrol to .75% while .2% to .25% on diesel, Temperature variation allowance on the lines of other states and Revision in the Net Fixed Assets (NFA) of land on which OMCs run petrol pumps on 30 years lease.