While petrol pumps have begun their indefinite single shift operations from Monday to demand a hike in their commissions, consumers have cried foul saying the decision will inconvenience motorists. The pumps will operate only from 9am to 5pm in Mumbai and at night on highways. Around 75% retail outlets in Mumbai participated in the agitation.
An attendant at a petrol pump in central Mumbai said, “There were long queues at pumps on Monday. People are trying to stock up on fuel due to the limited hours in which we will operate.”
The dealers decided on the move to press oil marketing companies (OMCs) to hike their commissions in line with the recommendations of the Apurva Chandra Committee. The dealers say that single shift operations are meant to help petrol pumps reduce their expenditure on electricity and manpower. Maharashtra has around 3,300 petrol pumps of which Mumbai accounts for 242.
“The consumers will suffer. They will have to now fill fuel within the eight hours. This will lead to long queues at pumps. In case of pumps which are located on arterial roads like SV Road, vehicles will spill on to the carriageway and cause traffic jams,” said Vinayak Hazare from Bandra (West).
An official from an OMC said that around 75% of retail outlets in the city participated in the exercise. He added that some outlets and other company-owned and company operated (COCO) pumps were operating normally. The official said there was little response to the call in places such as Thane, Nashik and Pune.
Consumer activist AV Shenoy said, “This is purely arm twisting by the dealers to get their demands (approved). They can discuss their issues with the government and find a solution. The consumer has to face difficulties due to this arm twisting.”
Ravi Shinde, general secretary of the Confederation of Indian Petroleum Dealers (CIPD), said that motorists were not panicking as the decision was well publicised by the media. He said there would be no effect on the supply of CNG to rickshaws, taxis, buses and cars, and claimed that there was response for the single shift operations from across the country including Maharashtra, Gujarat, the north-east and south India.