More than 700 petrol pumps out of the 3,200-odd have closed down across the state over the past five years while many more are on the brink of closure as owners are incurring heavy losses, the state petroleum dealers’ association claimed recently.
“Barely five years ago there were around 3,200 petrol pumps across West Bengal. Now we are left with just around 2,500. The rest have been forced to close down after the pump owners complained of incurring heavy losses over the years and have almost become bankrupt,” said Tushar Sen, president of the West Bengal Petroleum Dealers’ Association.
Most of the petrol pumps that have closed down were located in Howrah, Burdwan and Hooghly districts.
He added that there were around 215-odd petrol pumps in and around Kolkata (Kolkata, parts of North and South 24Parganas) even two years back. But over the past two years at least eight have closed down. Several more are likely to.
“The reason is twofold. While one of the most important reasons is that the petrol pump owners are not getting adequate commission, the other reason is that promoters and developers are eyeing on the prime plots where the petrol pumps are located,” he said.
One of the last ones to close down in the heart of the city is the petrol pump near Jadavpur police station. The owner has already sold it to a promoter as he was incurring huge losses. “We receive commission from the oil companies and the rate is fixed by the petroleum ministry. But the commission comes in paisa a litre and not in percentage. Over the past five years we are receiving a commission of 88 paisa a litre of diesel. We have been requesting the government to give the percentage in percentage a litre of diesel so that it can increase whenever there is a rise in fuel prices,” Sen said.