Commuters saved as CNG strike postponed

It appears that by invoking the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) against CNG dealers, the state government has temporarily managed to put a lid on the unrest brewing within the dealer community that is unhappy over the proposed commission they have been offered by the oil companies on per kg of CNG.

Simultaneously, it has also saved Mumbaikars from the myriad commuting woes they would had been subjected to had the CNG dealers gone on a strike today. As per ESMA, none of the dealers will be able to keep their gas stations closed, thereby preventing a situation that would have led to fuel crisis, forcing taxis and autos off the roads.

Strike another day: With today's strike being called off, CNG dealers
have deferred their agitation to January 9. Representation pic

"The government invoked ESMA stating that the strike would be counterproductive, as fuel stations where CNG is sold, also sells petrol and diesel, and a day's closure will hit services (transport) hard. We have now deferred the strike till January 9," said Ravi Shinde, president, Mumbai Petrol Dealers Association.

In November 2011, the association had issued a similar threat to the government of going on an indefinite strike, if the state failed to fulfill their demands. However, the strike was called off at the last minute.

According to CNG dealers' association, the root cause of the problem is the poor commission being offered to them by the oil companies.

Some of the members stated that oil companies have offered to pay them only Rs 1.16 per kg of CNG against their demand of Rs 2.50. Currently, the CNG dealers are getting 87 paise per kg.

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