Mumbai keeps moving in 'no fuel purchase' protest

Oct 02, 2012, 06:58 IST | Naveen Nair

Petrol pump owners in the city are not buying fuel from oil companies for two days, demanding an increase in commission margins, but have stocked up enough so motorists aren't inconvenienced

Pumps owned by dealers of Hindustan Petroleum, Bharat Petroleum and Indian Oil across the city went on a “no fuel purchase” protest yesterday, in which they are refusing to procure fresh stocks of petrol or diesel for two days. 

Oil your own machine: Motorcyclists wait for their turn at a petrol pump in South Mumbai’s Prabhadevi area. File pic

The Confederation of Indian Petroleum Dealers (CIPD) has called for the two-day nationwide protesting an effort to convince the government to concede to demands placed by petrol pump dealers. Dealers are firm on their decision to not purchase any fuel when they run out of existing stocks. However, customers experienced relief upon discovering that the pumps had stocked up before waging the protest.

Dealers have appealed to the government to increase their commission margin and also look into the issue of evaporation loss.

They have complained that while the maximum limit for evaporation loss set by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas is 0.59 per cent, dealers in Mumbai face a loss of over 1 per cent.

Dealers claimed failure of government and petroleum companies to address these concerns has forced them to agitate. Chetan Modi, secretary, Petrol Dealers Association of Mumbai, claimed that the first day of the agitation was a grand success, enjoying support from most petrol pump dealers across the city.

Motorists speak
I drive to my office every day from Ghatkopar to Lower Parel and visit a petrol pump every week. I heard about the agitation but unlike other protests, this time petrol pumps have sufficient fuel to meet the regular demand. I have refilled my fuel tank today and it would last till this weekend.
— Vikram Soni, architect

I am in the business of delivering furniture across the city and this consumes a lot of diesel. I was initially concerned about the agitation, as I need fuel on a regular basis. But when I reached the petrol pump today there was no queue of motorists and I could conveniently get
a refill.
— Satyajit Sharma, driver

I go to college on my bike and refill my tank twice a week. I have enough fuel in my bike for the next two days, so this agitation does not really other me. I am sure things would be back to normal soon.
— Nitin Sarda, college student

Dealers speak
The agitation was called by CIPD at an all-India level and dealers in the city actively participated in the protest. Apart from company controlled pumps (CCP) and few highway dealers, all other supported the protest. Over 200 dealers out of 256 in the city did not purchase fuel today. “Our main agitation starts from Oct 15, wherein our pumps would be operational for only one shift, from 9am to 5pm.”
— Chetan Modi, owner, Amar Petrol Pump, King’s Circle

We are on a two-day protest so that our demands are met. We ensured that the motorists are not troubled by our agitation and have maintained sufficient stock to supply fuel until Wednesday.
— Rajendra Vijan, Hindustan Petroleum Dealer, Lalbaug

We have decided not to purchase fuel for the next two days to protest against the government. We are protesting against the meagre margin of commission granted to us dealers. If we run out of fuel in these two days we won’t purchase any from the company.
— Ashok Chheda, Indian Oil Dealer, Matunga

Oil company speaks
An official at BPCL said, “On Monday over 70% of petrol pumps across the country made purchases.

Most of the dealers topped up their pumps yesterday, which would ensure sufficient supply for the next two days. No inconvenience was caused to motorists as the pumps have sufficient stock of fuel.” 

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