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Make sure your gas tank is full as petrol dealers threaten strike

Pune Petrol Dealers Association threatens to go on a state-wide ‘no purchase’ strike if oil firms fail to replace the stolen master key used to unlock tankers

Motorists are advised to fill up their tanks, as there is every possibility that they might not get fuel, starting midnight.
The Pune Petrol Dealers Association (PPDA) has threatened to go on a state-wide no purchase strike.

Petrol pump
Till stockS last: Protestors have demanded that locks on the 6,000-odd oil tankers be replaced free of cost by afternoon today, by oil companies. Pic for Representation

The protesters have demanded the locks on the 6,000-odd oil tankers be replaced free of cost by afternoon by the oil companies, as the master key that fits all the locks was stolen from Loni terminal depot on Monday morning.

Dealers said that they had issued a notice to oil companies and would take the final call on the ‘no purchase of fuel’ stand after taking stock of the situation on Wednesday. This means they would sell fuel only till their stocks last.

At yesterday’s press conference, PPDA President Baba Dhumal said, “This is the third such incident that has occurred in the last ten years. Three years ago, when the master key was stolen, the petrol dealers were forced to pay Rs 30,000 for each lock whose market rate is Rs 10,000.

Why should the dealers be penalised for of someone else’s mistake. So this time we asked the private companies to replace the lock of all the oil tankers that supply oil PMC and PCMC areas by Wednesday. If they fail to do so, then we will be calling for a state-wide strike.”

He alleged that the theft of the master key seems to be the handiwork of an insider. “The keys are made using electronic technology. Therefore, only those who know programming can make the duplicate keys. Three years ago, when the key was stolen, we discovered that duplicate ones were being sold in the open market for Rs 2,500.”

An officer from Loni terminal depot said, “The keys were stolen from the terminal premises, therefore we have initiated an internal inquiry. Strict action will be taken against those involved in the crime.”

2,500
No of Hindustan Petroleum tankers that will stop services if the strike comes into effect

2,500
No of Bharat Petroleum tankers that will go on strike

1,500
No of Indian Oil tankers that are likely to participate in the strike

How does the key work?

Before a tanker leaves an oil company terminal, the terminal in-charge locks it using the master key. Once the tanker reaches a petrol pump, its dealer opens the lock with using his key

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