Delhi’s petrol pump owners have decided to call off their recently started practice of closing their outlets every Monday in protest against an increase in the rate of diesel in the city.
The decision to discontinue the practice came because, as the petrol pump owners understood, the Delhi government was about to meet its Haryana and Punjab counterparts to chalk out a ‘flat rate’ of diesel across the three states.
“We will not observe the weekly off every Monday but wait for the state governments to come up with a solution,” said Nishit Goel, vice president of Delhi Petrol Dealers' Association (DPDA), an umbrella body of 400-odd petrol stations in the Capital.
The dealers, however, have kept the threat of indefinite strike looming.
If they do not get what they called “a positive signal” from the Delhi government by June 14, all fuel pumps will go on a continuous strike, Goel said.
The pump owners’ grouse has been that ever since Delhi government increase VAT on diesel in this year’s budget, the price of the fuel per litre has been more than that in Haryana and Punjab.
As a result, the fleet of interstate trucks, which form the bulk of diesel consumers, have been filling in from Haryana, which surround Delhi from three sides, and Punjab.
In Haryana, the price is around four rupees less.
“The diesel sale of 200 petrol pumps in outer periphery of the city has dropped by 35 per cent of late,” he said.
The dealers have already met Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit once to resolve the issue.
Another fallout of the imbroglio is that the Euro-IV diesel, which contains ultra-low quantity of sulphur compared to the earlier batches of the fuel and therefore is more environment friendly, is not getting buyers in Delhi, where only this variety of the diesel is available.
“Euro-IV was launched for clean air gains. But since it is not getting the sales in Delhi, the expected gains are also missing,” said Goel.
Price of Diesel in Delhi is Rs 38.10 per litre and in Haryana it is Rs 34.22 per litre.