Petrol pumps will remain shut across the country on July 12, with the All India Petroleum Dealers’ Association calling for a nationwide strike. The dealers will also observe a “no-purchase” day on July 5.

The calls for the strike are in protest against the lack of transparency in the daily dynamic pricing mode.

“Our national body AIPDA has called for a nationwide strike on July 12. Ahead of that, we won’t purchase any oil on 5 July as a mark of protest,” West Bengal Petroleum Dealers’ Association President Tushar Sen told IANS.

Sen further said that ever since the dynamic pricing system was introduced on June 16, petroleum prices have been on a decline, and that they were unaware of how the process works. A spokesperson for the association, Ali Daruwalla, said that on on June 29, oil marketing companies had assured them of price protection.

“We were requested by companies to wait till 2 pm on June 30 for their reconsideration...Yet no fruitful result has come out,” said Daruwalla, according to The Indian Express.

The shutdown is also in protest against the oil marketing companies’ failure to install 100% automated systems at petrol pumps. Sen said only 1% of the petrol pumps in West Bengal and other states were equipped with the automated system. “The oil marketing companies were supposed to install 100% automated systems at the pumps. But they have not done it,” he told IANS.

The dynamic pricing system

The new system of dynamic pricing was first tested in five cities – Chandigarh, Jamshedpur, Puducherry, Udaipur and Vizag – from May 1, before being implemented across the country. Now, petrol and diesel prices are revised every day.

Till June 16, fuel prices were revised as per international rates every fortnight. The step was taken to increase transparency in the pricing mechanism.

Dealers had protested against the move earlier, as well. They had held that with 40,000 outlets of the 58,000 in the country being automated, the implementation might be difficult. They had also pointed that that only 5,600 of them were internet-enabled, and that petrol pumps in small towns might find it more difficult to transition to the new system.