Mumbai (IANS) - All petrol pumps in eight states across the country which had announced a weekly 'holiday' from May 14 and work on a single shift from May 15, called off their proposed agitation on Saturday, an official statement said here.
The Federation of All Maharashtra Petrol Dealers Association (FAMPEDA) President Uday Lodh said that in view of a review meeting called on Wednesday (May 17) by Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) it has been decided to postpone the agitation till further notice.
The Consortium of Indian Petroleum Dealers (CIPD) along with FAMPEDA was planning to launch the 'Cost Cutting Module' in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Haryana, citing low margins. The move would have affected 4,500 petrol pumps in Maharashtra alone, with 225 in Mumbai, said Lodh.
The FAMPEDA move was in support of CIPD's call vis-A-vis the various demands with OMCs, including a hike in dealer margins which have not been revised since 2011, and other long-pending issues, he added. The CIPD claims to have 25,000 members. "Next Wednesday, we have been called to discuss our agreement with the OMCs of November last year and related issue. So till then, we have decided to postpone our agitation," Lodh said.
He reiterated that the petrol pumps are currently operating on extremely low margins, selling high-tech unleaded petrol/diesel products in which the evaporation rate is very high leading to huge losses and other outstanding issues.
Besides there are concerns like paying a certain amount of minimum salary to the staffers at each petrol pump, which has become unaffordable owing to the low operating margins, he said. The FAMPEDA's proposed move of a weekly off on Sundays and a single-shift operation on weekdays would hit the jobs of around 100,000 petrol pump staffers in Maharashtra who work mostly in two shifts or more depending on the location and business.
The first step in this direction was initiated last Wednesday with petrol pumps refusing to buy fresh stocks from the OMCs with 85% success.
Earlier, some dealers had attributed the move towards saving fuel and Forex for the country, in response to an appeal by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Sunday-holiday move could entail savings of around 20 per cent fuel burned in the country, they said.
On April 20, the Petroleum Ministry said it "neither endorses nor approves" of the move by small section of dealers to keep their petrol pumps closed on Sundays. It said the move would lead to inconvenience to general public.