Punjab petroleum pump dealers threaten to curtail hours to ‘check losses’

Stating that it was “high time the Punjab government takes measures to check the losses and harassment being faced by Punjab’s petrol station dealers for a long time due to faulty and unjustified fuel policies”, Punjab Petroleum Dealers Association president Paramjeet Singh Doaba on Monday announced that “in the absence of margin revision and high fuel prices, the dealers of Punjab are going to limit their work timings from 7 am to 5 pm (only single shift), to cut the cost of expenses and to cover up the losses due to high fuel prices from November 7 for 15 days”.

“In the meantime, if our demands are not met, during this period, Punjab dealers shall close down their pumps for 24 hours on November 22,” said Doaba.

Talking to media in Chandigarh on Monday, Doaba said that “Punjab petrol pump dealers are facing losses due to higher VAT on petrol & diesel compared to the neighbouring states and UT”.

He added that “The non-revision of dealer margins from the last 4 years and state-owned oil marketing companies (OMCs) offloading their expenses on to dealers and locking supplies is hitting the dealers badly.”
Doaba said further, “Now when our repeated pleas to look into our demands have failed to find any solutions, we are left with no other option than to put the Punjab government, Oil Marketing Companies and Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas on notice.”

Association general secretary Dr Manjit Singh said, “Nearly 800 dealers of the 8 border districts in Punjab are in extreme losses due to a drop of 70 per cent in sales, whereas the whole dealers’ fraternity is facing volume loss due to high fuel prices & non increase of margins since last revision in August 2017”.

“Interestingly, fuel prices have gone up by nearly Rs. 38 per litre in the last 18 months whereas the crude has risen to just $85/bbl from $70/bbl in January 2020, the pre-Covid levels,” said Monty Sehgal , the spokesperson of association adding “dealers across the nation have been demanding rational increase in margins in line with price hike to stay afloat and keep up with increasing operating costs.”

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