Punekars can breathe a sigh of relief as the Pune Petrol Dealers Association (PPDA) has decided to call off the indefinite strike, which was to be enforced from today.
Lining up: Fearing the indefinite closure of petrol pumps, people made a beeline at fuel stations to get their fill; PPDA called off the strike yesterday evening. Pic/Dattatraya Adhalge
The news of the indefinite closure of petrol pumps prompted thousands to queue outside fuel stations to make sure they got their fill. There was chaos on the streets which were blocked with vehicles, leaving little to no space for oncoming traffic.
Protesting against the two-per cent Local Body Tax (LBT) levied on them, the PPDA on Sunday issued a press note announcing the strike in which more than 350 petrol pumps from Pune and PCMC were to participate.
The situation was brought under control when Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) agreed to strike a deal with the association, and the strike was called off before it could even begin.
Ali Daruwala, spokesperson for the PPDA, said, “Earlier this month, we handed over a letter to the district collector requesting him to remove the LBT charges. Receiving no response from their end, we decided to go ahead with the indefinite strike.”
“Following this announcement, yesterday evening, the PMC called for an urgent meeting and assured us that no LBT will be charged from oil tankers. We have not got any definite date as to when this will happen, but we are glad that the PMC finally broke their silence.”
On an average around 6,000 oil tankers enter Pune and PCMC areas every day. The cost of a single petrol/diesel tanker is Rs 9 lakh and petrol dealers pay Rs 18,000 in LBT charges for each tanker.
“Apart from this, we have to pay 15 per cent excise tax, 25 per cent VAT and Rs 1 as education cess tax. We do not want to put the citizens into any kind of trouble but we have no option left. Once the rate is lowered, Punekars will benefit from this as petrol and diesel will be available at cheaper rates,” Daruwala added.