State-run oil-marketing companies (OMCs) have asked petrol pump dealers to cancel the 24-hour strike planned on October 13, saying there was no scope for further negotiations on their demands.
A forum of three associations of dealers had declared on Saturday that about 54,000 retail fuel stations across India would remain shut on October 13 to protest the delay in the implementation of the pending agreement signed with the OMCs in November 2016, and to seek resolution of their other demands, such as higher marketing margin.
The three OMCs have appealed to these dealers not to go ahead with the strike, and have said that even if they do, the 1,000 ‘company-owned, company-operated’ stations will continue operations.
“We have already appealed to dealers that they should see reason. All their demands have already been considered and addressed. There are some other pending issues, like we are insisting better wages for their staff, better toilets, penalty of shortage in delivery to customer, and digital review,” said Balwinder Singh Canth, director (marketing), Indian Oil Corporation.
The United Petroleum Front, which is an umbrella organisation for the Federation of All-India Petroleum Traders, the All-India Petroleum Dealers Association and the Consortium of Indian Petroleum Dealers, had earlier threatened that if their demands were not met soon, the dealers would indefinitely stop purchase and sale operations from October 27.
Issuing a soft warning to dealers, Canth said: “Let me remind you this is an essential commodity, so essential commodities Act is applicable here. In case we feel there may be some disruption, we will approach the state governments concerned and seek their intervention to ensure the public is not inconvenienced.”
The dealers have demanded that petroleum products should be brought under the GST, to which the executives of the OMCs said it was a decision only the government could take. The dealers are also demanding for resolution of manpower issues, a new study of handling losses, and resolution of issues related to transportation and ethanol blending.
The associations had also said the new marketing discipline guidelines announced by OMCs, which is effective from October 2, was “arbitrary, unjustified and unconstitutional” as it aims to penalise dealers if they sell less volume to consumers than the prescribed levels. The OMCs said the move was necessary to bring discipline among retailers and to protect consumers’ interests.
The OMCs also dismissed the fuel dealers’ statement against the daily-price mechanism introduced from July 1. But the OMCs countered it by saying it is a more efficient system. Read more