In order to make sure that their demand for higher margins are met by the government, fuel pump operators have threatened to keep their outlets closed on Sundays from May 10 onwards. In addition to that, the retailers would be keeping their fuel pumps open only between 9am to 6pm on weekdays to bring down the operational costs. The retailers claim that both these decisions will be brought into practice from next month onwards unless the central government agrees to intervene and make changes.
This decision is being led by the Consortium of Indian Petroleum Dealers (CIPD). The reason for the protest, as stated by CIPD, is not to cause inconvenience to everyone but instead to make their demands heard. It is said that oil companies had agreed to raise the margin in January this year but the same was not fulfilled. The dealer commission, according to Indian Oil, is Rs 1.65 per litre for diesel and Rs 2.56 per litre for petrol.
However, this decision has not received support from the All India Petroleum Dealers Association (AIPDA) even when both the bodies are emphasising on increase in dealer margins. AIPDA has also not offered support to CIPD's decision of keeping the fuel pumps shut on Sundays as well as working for stipulated hours on weekdays. It should be noted that CIPD has presence in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Maharashtra while AIPDA has a nation-wide reach.
CIPD members would be conducting a meeting on May 15 wherein the next set of decision will be taken. The association has asked its members to halt purchases from May 10 and to keep their pumps closed on May 14. We have reached out to both Indian Oil as well as CIPD to know more. Stay tuned to OVERDRIVE for more updates on this topic.