New Delhi, October 12: State petrol pump dealers on Wednesday called-off their 24-hour nationwide strike on October 13 after state oil companies rejected their demands and warned them against closure. The strike was called to press for various demands, including better margins and inclusion of petroleum products in the Goods and Services Tax (GST). On Wednesday, state-owned oil marketing companies (OMC) urged petrol pump dealers to call off the strike as almost all their demands have already been met. The OMCs warned that being an Essential Services Maintenance (ESMA) subject they may approach the states to scuttle the strike. The government on Tuesday stated that it will not back down on the new guidelines which forced petrol pump dealers to call off the strike.
The call for a nation-wide strike was taken at the first joint meeting of United Petroleum Front (UPF), an umbrella organization of three nationwide organizations on October 7. The front had earlier announced a strike on October 1. UPF comprises the Federation of All India Petroleum Traders, All India Petroleum Dealers Association and Consortium of Indian Petroleum Dealers. Ajay Bansal, All India Petroleum Dealers Association President told ANI that they will go on indefinite strike from October 27 if no response is received from oil companies. The associations have also been protesting against recent changes in guidelines governing petrol pump dealers. The UPF represents over 54,000 dealers from the Federation of All-India Petroleum Traders, the All-India Petroleum Dealers Association and the Consortium of Indian Petroleum Dealers.
Hindustan Petroleum was quoted by PTI saying, “All the three constituents of the United Petroleum Front (UPF) have called off the proposed all-India strike planned for 13th and 27th October 2017. This was conveyed to the oil companies through written statements, underlining their decision to this effect”. “We have withdrawn the proposed strike since oil companies have advised us to do that,” an office-bearer at one dealer association said.
Indian Oil, Hindustan Petroleum and Bharat Petroleum control about 54,000 petrol pumps across the country, or more than 90% of the fuel retailing market. The associations have been protesting recent changes in guidelines governing petrol pump dealers. In June, petrol pump owners had called off their proposed strike over daily revision of petrol and diesel prices after the government agreed to change the timing to 6 am every day instead of midnight