Oil ministry red-flags Sunday holiday for fuel outlets

Dharmendra Pradhan chaired meeting of Consultative Committee Meeting of Members of Parliament for Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas in Sri Nagar

Petrol bunk dealers in seven states and Puducherry have made a decision to down their shutters on Sundays from May 14 in a bid to save fuel and foreign exchange, it was announced on Tuesday.

All India Petroleum Dealers Association President Ajay Bansal told PTI that the association, which has almost 46,000 petrol pump owners as members, are not participating in the closure.

Already, the All India Petroleum Dealers Association, which claims to represent 80 per cent of the 53,224 petrol pumps of public sector oil firms, has said it is not participating in the closure exercise.

"A decision has been taken but we are waiting for a final communication from CIPD", Ashok Nareddi of Telangana Petroleum Dealers' Association told IANS.

"We had planned to shut our outlets on Sundays a few years back".

Annually, the average sale of petrol and diesel in the State is estimated to be Rs. 56,000 crore and Rs. 153 crore per day. "There were around 4,850 outlets selling petrol and diesel in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry alone". "While exact figures are not available on fuel sales on Sundays, it is around 20 per cent less than what is sold on weekdays", Murali said, adding that the Sunday-holiday decision would save around 20 per cent fuel used in the country.

He also said that dealers are within their rights to declare Sunday as a holiday and that they had been paying employees double wages.

From 15 May, he said, the petrol pumps in the seven states and Puducherry will work only on a single day shift - 9 am to 6 pm. He also said all outlets would have one staffer on Sundays for an emergency.

Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan retweeted and said, "Major dealer's federations have clarified that they don't endorse any closure of petrol pumps on any day". On the issue of OMCs hiking the margins to petroleum outlets, he said the association was discussing it and would soon make an announcement in this regard. "This is a bad decision", said Deepak Bhat, a resident of DLF Phase 1.

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