Oil ministry red-flags Sunday holiday for fuel outlets

Kumar, also the Vice-President of Tamil Nadu Petroleum Dealers Association, said almost 20,000 outlets in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Puducherry, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra and Haryana would be shut for 24 hours on Sundays, starting May 14. At present, many outlets are open between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. while some operate round the clock. Some dealers associations have announced that their push to shut bunks on Sunday was in line with the government's advice to use less fuel. "So we have chose to declare a holiday on Sundays as it will save fuel and foreign exchange", K.P. Murali, President of the Tamil Nadu Petroleum Dealers Association, told IANS. "On an average, the per day sales of fuel is for around Rs 153 crore".

"We request all the dealers in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry to rise up for creating a clean and prosperous "New India" by declaring Sundays as a holiday from May 14", he said. "All these days we have been paying workers double wages", he said.

To address any emergency situation, the petrol pumps will have one staff member on the holidays to provide fuel.

The All India Petroleum Dealers Association, which claims to represent 80% of the 53,224 petrol pumps of public sector oil companies, has said not participating in the closure exercise. Murali said there were around 4,850 outlets selling petrol and diesel in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry alone. He also said that the low margins, along with a high evaporation rate and the minimum salary to be paid to employees, are leading to huge losses.

Nareddi said trucks, other four wheelers and bikes have sufficient fuel tank capacity to store fuel for a travel of 300 to 500 km. "So those who purchase the diesel or petrol a day in advance will have no problems", he added.

"Such closure of petrol pumps by a small section of dealers will lead to inconvenience to general public", said a tweet by petroleum ministry.

  • Eleanor Harrison