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Petrol pump owners gripe about cheaper fuel in Kharghar

The recently introduced local body tax (LBT) by the state government is taking a toll on the profits of petrol pump owners in Navi Mumbai, the owners claimed. They said that the higher cost of petrol in the city, as compared to Kharghar, and even Mumbai and Thane, was affecting the business. 

A few of them added that petrol and diesel prices in Navi Mumbai, which falls under the jurisdiction of the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC), were higher by about Rs 4 against the price in Kharghar, which is governed by the City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO). They claim that this difference has resulted in heavy losses for the owners of fuel stations located along highways and major roads in Navi Mumbai.

An attendant at a pump in Nerul said, “The LBT, which is being levied since April, is affecting the business. We can clearly state that the sales have decreased since its introduction. The government must not levy such heavy taxes on items that are used on a daily basis. And if they do, then it should be uniform.”

The attendant referred to the difference in tax percentage levied on petrol and diesel in Navi Mumbai. He said that while petrol here was sold at Rs 79.97, it was cheaper by Rs 3 in Kharghar.

“Vashi, which has a major truck terminus, is losing customers to Kharghar. Even diesel is cheaper by about Rs 4. Several truck drivers say they prefer filling gas in Kharghar rather than Navi Mumbai,” he added.

Mukund Narayan Kulkarni, owner of NGB Auto Service, a petrol pump in Nerul, said, “Truck drivers fill fuel in large quantities at Kharghar because the difference of Rs 4 makes a big change in their spending. This has resulted in a loss of quite a few customers and our sales have taken a hit.”

Fed up of the losses they have been incurring since the introduction of the LBT, the pump owners have decided to protest against the tax.  Ajit Kandpile, owner of a petrol pump in Vashi, said, “We have sent a letter to the municipal commissioner about our grievances.

Petrol and diesel traders will also change their work timings to 9 am-5 pm from August 16. And even after a weeklong protest, if the NMMC fails to reduce the LBT, owners of all the petrol pumps falling under its jurisdiction will go on an indefinite strike.”  

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