Over 25,000 petrol pumps across India remained closed abruptly for 15 minutes from 8 p.m. on Saturday as oil dealers continued their protest against state-owned companies to push for a five-point charter of demands covering financial compensation.
“Over 25,000 petrol pumps participated in the blackout call to protest against unplanned price changes resulting in heavy losses to the dealers on the inventory and rampant mushrooming of petrol pumps resulting in saturation in the industry,” Saradindu Pal, general secretary of the West Bengal Petroleum Dealers’ Association, said in Kolkata.
Pal said his association, part of the All India Petroleum Dealers’ Association, has raised issues related to financial burdening of the dealers with the three public sector oil companies (PSUs), Hindustan Petroleum, Bharat Petroleum and Indian Oil, and waiting for a reply from them.
“During the 15 minute blackout, all lights were switched off and sales were suspended for the duration,” he said. He said if the blackout failed to draw attention of the PSUs and relevant stakeholders in the oil trade, his association will go to the next stage of protest.
“If this blackout fails to draw attention to our problems, we’ll observe a no purchase day on March 31,” he said. However, Pal said members of the trade body have ensured enough stocks with them so that consumers are not affected on the day the current fiscal year ends.
“If both these protests fail, we’ll escalate it to phase three where we’ll stop selling oil to consumers for which the day of action will be later decided,” he said.(IANS)