Petrol pumps go dry to protest against LBT

Aug 21, 2013, 23:40 IST | Nigel Buthello

24-hour service is now open only from 9 am to 5 pm, inconveniencing residents

Owners of petrol pumps have acted on their warnings to change the timings of their 24-hour-services. The pumps now only remain open from 9am to 5 pm. This they said was to protest against the improper levying of Local Body Tax (LBT) in Navi Mumbai. But the brunt is being borne by the poor citizens.

The warning: MiD DAY report on August 8

Kopar Khairane resident Parvez Sarguruh, who drives a four-wheeler, said, “I was unaware that petrol pumps have changed their shift timings. I had an emergency and had to rush to hospital on August 16. But when I went to fill fuel, I was told that the pump was shut for the day due to the ongoing protest. I was forced to travel by a rickshaw.”

Another Kopar Khairane resident Kannan Iyer said, “I generally fill petrol from the pump near my house. I leave by 8.30 am and return only after 7.30 pm. Now that the petrol pumps have changed their working hours, I don’t get the chance to fill petrol. I had last filled petrol on August 14 and am yet to go for a refill. My biggest worry is that I will get stuck in a situation where I need to refuel after the pumps have shutdown for the day.”

While a few expressed their concerns over the new timings, others complained that no signboards were installed at petrol pumps to inform the motorists about the change of timings, causing inconvenience.

Imran Dawood, a local from Kopar Khairane, said, “My client who had my car went to fill petrol at 8 pm an August 16 and it was upon reaching there that he learnt that pumps would no longer be operational after 5 pm. Generally my car is always loaded with fuel, but this one time I urgently needed fuel and the pumps were shut. I did not even see any signboard informing people regarding the change in timings.”

MiD DAY in its previous report (‘Petrol pump owners gripe about cheaper fuel in Kharghar’, August 8) had highlighted how the owners of petrol pumps that fell under the jurisdiction of the NMMC had complained about incurring losses due to the unequal implementation of the LBT.

They said this had resulted in petrol and diesel being cheaper by Rs 4 in Kharghar. Stating that they have remained unaffected by the early shutting of petrol pumps, owners rubbished the claims that no signboards were installed to warn the motorists. Ajit Kandpile, petrol pump owner in Vashi, said, “Even though we shut early these days, we haven’t incurred major losses. And no one visited the pump after it was shut for the day.”

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