Come Sunday and at least 4,500 petrol bunks and CNG pumps will remain shut in Maharashtra and will continue to observe 'holiday' on all Sundays. Further, petrol dealers' association has decided that fuel station staff will work in single shifts ideally between 9 AM and 6 PM on a daily basis. While dealers in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu have made it official, dealers in Maharashtra announced on Friday that they would join the 'holiday protest'.
Despite massive criticism from registered dealers' federation from across the country and Petroleum ministry, smaller dealers' associations from Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Puducherry, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Haryana have decided to go ahead with the protest demanding hike in dealer margins. Sunday's protest in Maharashtra will see 225 fuel stations remaining shut in Mumbai alone.
As a mark of protest associations that have pledged support to the 'holiday protest' did not purchase any fuel from oil companies on Wednesday. Starting May 14 they intend to shut petrol pumps on all Sundays and starting May 15 single shifts will be implemented. The move is most certain to inconvenience consumers and case pile up during work hours at most fueling stations.
Dealers are of the opinion that the commission which was revised last in 2011 was inadequate and have asked for a revision. Dealers claim that they are currently operating on extremely low margins, selling high-tech unleaded petrol or diesel products in which the evaporation rate is very high, resulting in huge losses, besides several other major issues.
Most petrol bunks in India work from 6 AM to 10 PM while some work 24/7. The move by select dealers' associations is likely to hit the common man. Since Petroleum products are classified as essential goods and services, the government has the option of invoking the ESMA against dealers refusing to keep bunks open and cause inconvenience to the public.