Recently there was a threat from fuel pump owners to keep their outlets shut on Sundays from May, unless they were given higher margins. Now, dealers from seven states – Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Haryana – and one union territory, Puducherry, have agreed to do so from May 14. While this is essentially a move to curb operational costs, KP Murali, the president of the Tamil Nadu Petroleum Dealers Association says otherwise. He said that since Prime Minister Narendra Modi had told people to follow traffic rules and save fuel, the dealers have decided to declare a holiday on Sundays to save fuel and foreign exchange. Murali said that, “while exact figures are not available for sales on Sundays, it will be around 20 per cent less.”
He also said that dealers are within their rights to declare Sunday as a holiday and that they had been paying employees double wages. Murali also added that fuel pumps in the seven states and Puducherry will only work between 9am and 6pm on weekdays from May 15. However, there will be one employee on Sundays to supply fuel in case of emergencies.
The president of the Federation of All Maharashtra Petrol Dealers Association, Uday Lodh said that the decision came in to support the various demands made to the three public sector oil companies which have not reviewed dealer margins since 2011. He also said that the low margins, along with a high evaporation rate and the minimum salary to be paid to employees, are leading to huge losses.
However, what is still unclear is if the company owned and company operated fuel pumps will follow the same move.