Petroleum Minister Murli Deora on Thursday appealed to petrol pump owners in Delhi not to go ahead with their proposed one-day strike from midnight to protest the Delhi government's hike of Value Added Tax on diesel.
Petrol pump dealers have called for the strike to protest over the hike in VAT from 12.5 to 20 percent in the Delhi government's budget, which made diesel in Delhi more expensive compared to neighbouring areas, thereby driving down sales. The budget became effective April 1.
The Delhi Petrol Dealers Association, which has called for the strike, said that the difference in prices between Delhi and Haryana was almost Rs.4 per litre.
According to a ministry spokesperson, Deora issued the appeal to petrol pump owners and pointed out that causing inconvenience to consumers was not the solution. "He asked them to go for talks, but not resort to strike," said the spokesperson.
Meanwhile, officials said they were hopeful that not all petrol pump dealers will join the strike.
Besides the 400-odd private pumps, the state-run oil marketing companies also operate around 20 outlets in Delhi. The state-run outlets will remain open Friday.
"Their stocks are being increased. Also, tankers are being kept on standby in case of any surge in demand," said a ministry official.
Commuters coming to Delhi from nearby suburbs like Faridabad, Noida and Gurgaon, were advised to fill up their tanks before entering the borders of the capital.