The government is not planning to shut petrol stations at night, Petroleum Minister M Veerappa Moily clarified yesterday.
Moily said this in response to reports that the government would shut petrol pumps at night to curb demand of petroleum products in view of the sharp jump in crude oil prices in international markets and depreciation of the rupee.
“We have not taken any decision. It is not our idea. It is an idea which is coming from the public and others,” Moily said.
In a separate statement, the ministry said there was no proposal under consideration of the government to regulate sale of petroleum products from retail outlets only during certain hours.
“We are toying with the ideas that have come to us. That doesn’t mean we have accepted them or are enforcing shutdowns,” Moily said.
To the Bharatiya Janata Party’s criticism reacting to the media reports, Moily said the “BJP may come up with a better proposal if it has one”.
“The country’s present situation can be termed as an economic emergency, doing this will only worsen it,” BJP MP Yashwant Sinha had said commenting on the oil minister’s reported proposal.
CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta said, “It’s like a curfew, we are heading towards economic emergency, the government must get petrol from Iran.”
The petroleum minister had last week said the oil ministry has worked out a plan to save $22 billion in the oil import bill. Though he did not divulge details ministry sources said that the plan involved oil imports from Iran, which can be paid for in rupees thereby saving precious forex outgo.
The petroleum ministry plans to launch a massive fuel conservation drive from Sep 16 to cut fuel demand by three per cent and save around Rs 16,000 crore ($2.5 billion) in foreign exchange.
The number of people who would have been out of a job, had the proposal of having 12-hour petrol pumps been passed
Amount of crude oil (in tonnes) imported from Iran so far
The current price of petrol per litre in Mumbai as compared to Rs 78.61 in Aug