Majority of the 1720 petrol pumps across Kerala will remain closed on Monday protesting against the decision of Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) to start 349 new pumps in the state.
The pumps would be closed from 6 am to 6 pm, except those being run by PSU oil companies directly and that of Kerala state Civil Supplies Corporation, which totally number around 15-20 in the state, All Kerala Federation of Petroleum Traders Secretary M Radhakrishnan told the news agency.
"The HPCL's unilateral decision to start new pumps was without properly conducting econonic viability", he said.
Around 700-800 new pumps are expected to be started this fiscal by three PSU oil companies in Kerala-- IOC, HPCL and BPCL, he said. Of this, HPCL is to start 349 new pumps.
New pumps, being set up in close proximity of existing pumps, would reduce sales volumes of the existing ones. Seventy eight per cent of the petrol pumps were able to sell only about 3,300 litres of petroleum products a day. Labour cost and banking charges were high in Kerala which further reduces the margins of dealers, he said, adding, there was need to revise the commission charges.
The dealers get only Rs 1.10 as gross commission for per litre of petrol and 67 paise for diesel. The net commission works out to 5-6 paise per litre for petrol, he said.
The PSU oil companies would have to spend about Rs 2 crore for setting up a new pump, he said.
Petroleum pump dealers would also take out a march to the office of HPCL Terminal in Kochi on Monday, he said.