Fuel dealers call off ‘strike’ opposing the Centre’s daily pricing system
On June 12, the All India Petroleum Dealers Association had said they would stop buying fuel from June 16.
Fuel dealers on Wednesday said they are postponing their “no-purchase, no-sale strike” against the Centre’s decision to introduce daily price revisions for petrol and diesel, ANI reported. Other media reports, however, said the association had decided to call off the strike.
The dealers had initially decided to demonstrate their opposition to the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government’s decision on June 16, which is the same day the system comes into force.
Union Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said the daily pricing system would be incorporated on schedule. “There were some concerns of dealer associations with regards to the daily pricing mechanism,” Pradhan said. “It was decided that the price of petrol and diesel will be revised from 6 am every morning.” The earlier plan was to have the prices revised at midnight, The Hindu reported.
“We are in favour of the initiatives to increase penetration of automated outlets and support the move to implement a daily pricing of fuel,” said All India Petroleum Dealers Association Chairperson Prabhakar Reddy.
On June 12, the All India Petroleum Dealers Association had said they would stop buying fuel from June 16, but claimed that it was not a strike. They had said they were not prepared to switch to the daily revision of fuel prices and urged state oil companies to defer the decision to move to the new system
“We are just terming it no-purchase till our concerns are addressed,” Ajay Bansal, president of All India Petroleum Dealers’ Association had told Mint. “We do not think we are ready to roll out daily fuel pricing across till all the retail outlets are automated. This could lead to transparency issues.” Bansal said the daily pricing system would burden the petrol pump dealers with unnecessary costs and operational chaos. The association represent dealers who account for 86% of the auto fuel sold in the country.
Indian Oil Corp, Hindustan Petroleum and Bharat Petroleum along with the Oil Ministry on Thursday had decided to roll out the new system from June 16 after having run a pilot project in five cities – Udaipur, Jamshedpur, Puducherry, Chandigarh and Visakhapatnam – from May 1. Currently, rates are revised by state fuel retailers on the 1st and 16th of every month.
There are 56,000 retail outlets in the country, of which around 20,000 have automated facilities to change fuel prices. The government has asked state-run Oil marketing companies to automate all outlets by March 2018.