To support the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s directive to save oil, the association of Indian petroleum declared on Tuesday that the fuel outlets will be closed every Sunday across eight states, which will be starting from May 14. This extraordinary move by the government came as a shock. According to an executive committee member of the consortium, it is expected that the decision would affect to 20,000 petrol pumps in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Haryana, Karnataka, Telangana, and Puducherry, confirmed to PTI.
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According to PTI, only emergency services like ambulances will be allowed to refuel and at least one person will be stationed at each outlet for assistance on Sundays. This decision is still to be communicated with oil marketing companies (OMCs). Kumar said to PTI, “That struggle is going on. We are meeting our association members shortly. We will announce our decision soon.” “We had planned to shut our outlets on Sundays a few years back. But oil marketing companies had then requested us to reconsider our decision. Now we have decided to shut the outlets on Sundays,” he added. Kumar also said that the decision was taken after PM Modi’s recent ‘Mann ki Baat’ episode, in which he talked about the environmentally friendly initiatives.
Suresh Kumar, who’s also the vice-president of Tamil Nadu Petroleum Dealers Association, said to PTI that, “In Tamil Nadu, we expect a business loss of Rs 150 crore if we do not operate on a Sunday. But we have been seeing a decline in sales on Sundays by up to 40 percent.” This decision of the government is unarguably laudable if it’s taken to improve the environment of the country. This decision would definitely help in reducing harm to the environment by reducing fuel consumption. Answering about the issue of OMCs hiking the margins to Petroleum outlets, Kumar said that his association discussed and they would soon make an announcement on the same. The president of the Karnataka Petroleum Dealers Association B R Ravindranath said that the petrol outlets will remain closed on Sundays and working hours will be reduced to single shifts. “We want to pressure the petroleum ministry to take up the issue of dealer margins. The Apoorva Chandra Committee had recommended a hike in 2011, but that is yet to be implemented. The idea is not to cause inconvenience to the public, but only to make the government address dealers’ woes,” he said.
The All India Petroleum Dealers Association (AIPDA) is not supporting the decision of shutting down the petrol outlets on Sundays. They also want an increase in dealer margins. The other trouble happening for the decision is that the associations are divided over keeping their petrol outlets closed on every Sunday and working only for eight hours on regular days. The AIPDA President Ajay Bansal said to Deccan Herald that, “We are not for shutting pumps. We are in talks with Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and officials of oil marketing companies for increased margins and a revised wage structure for our employees.” This will be cleared in coming days that the decision of shutting the petrol outlets on Sundays would work smoothly for the dealers or not.