Over 4,200 petrol and diesel retailers in Maharashtra, excluding the financial capital, kept the pumps shut for a day demanding uniform taxation, which would ensure parity in fuel prices across the state.
"Due to the autonomy on tax collection given to local bodies, there is a differential of Rs 5 to 7 per litre of diesel and petrol between two areas and dealers on the fringes of a town are losing business," Uday Lodh, the president of Federation of All Maharashtra Petrol Dealers Association told PTI from Ratnagiri. The differential arises primarily due to the Local Body Tax (LBT), wherein the local bodies have been given the liberty to tax.
Additionally, there is also the State Specific Charge (SSC), which is the component passed on to the users by the oil marketing companies towards payment of octroi when the crude lands in Mumbai.
"Our first request is to scrap SSC, but in the interim because of the multiple issues involved, we are asking for a 3 per cent relief on the sales tax," Lodh said. He said the association is not against the payment of taxes and is also sensitive to the revenue requirements of the bodies. Keeping in mind the same, Lodh said the association had submitted a solution to the state government which has not been implemented.
"We ideally want a single tax and the solution we gave also mentions the same," he said.
Lodh said 30 crore litres of petrol and diesel gets sold in the state, one of the most industrialised ones which is among the top in economic indicators, on a daily basis, which results in the accretion of around Rs 7.5 crore in revenues to the state government and local agencies' coffers through taxes.
While all the 227 dealers in Mumbai kept the pumps operational, about 25-30 company-owned retailers across the state were not part of the strike. All the pumps will be resuming operations from 6 AM tomorrow, he added.
In Nagpur, almost all petrol pumps remained shut to support the strike. However, those owned by the oil companies remained open, providing much relief to people. The call for strike was given by the Nagpur Petrol and HSD Pump Owners and Dealers Association. About 200 petrol pumps in the city remained closed in response to the strike call. Long queues were seen outside the Indian Oil Corporation's petrol pumps at RBI Square and Medical College Square areas in the city.
In Nashik district, over 300 petrol pumps were shut in response to the call for strike given by the Nashik District Petrol Dealers' Welfare Association (NDPDWA), who demanded equal tax on petrol and diesel across the state, NDPDWA district secretary Vijay Thakre said.
However, petrol pumps run by the Police Welfare Association was open on the Gangapur Road area, where long queues were seen. The NDPDWA also threatened an indefinite strike, if the Maharashtra government failed to take any decision on their demand.