The Confederation of Indian Petroleum Dealers, which some months back broke ranks from petrol pump dealers umbrella organisation the Federation of All India Petroleum Traders (FAIPT) headed by Ashok Badhwar, said dealers were in "deep financial trouble" because of increased operational costs and are "left with no option but to cut the cost of operations".
"With our backs to the wall, it was resolved that the retail outlets will operate single shift from Oct 15 to cut costs on manpower and electricity as acute austerity measures," CIPD wrote to the Oil Ministry.
CIPD, whose members predominantly are in Maharashtra and Gujarat, in the letter, a copy of which was released to press, said motorists would have to plan their purchases during these restricted working hours only.
"But before we resort to this unpleasant option, we have advised dealers not to place any indents on Oct 1 and 2," it said. FAIPT, which claims to still have a majority of the 42,000 petrol pump dealers on its side, has not given any call for agitation. There are no 8-hours shifts in petrol pumps which normally operate for 12-hours a day at a stretch.
CIPD may be looking at operating the pumps for a limited number of hours during the day.
Dealers commission was last revised in Jul 2011 when it was raised to Rs 1.499 per litre on petrol and Rs 0.912 per litre on diesel. Petrol pump operations are seeking higher commission and linking it to sale price of the fuel.
The Oil Ministry on Sept 20 ordered the three fuel retailers to work out revised dealers commission within a fortnight.
"...oil marketing companies are requested to rework the quantum of dealer's commission of diesel (as due) keeping in mind escalations that may have occurred in the mean time," an oil ministry order said asking oil firms to submit the proposal by month end.
"Since petrol is a deregulated product, oil marketing companies may complete the exercise for required revision of quantum of dealer's commission on petrol (currently due) and announce the same within a fortnight," it added.