With the Mahanagar Gas Limited (MGL) unwilling to budge, the Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) dealers will go ahead with their strike on November 2, thus inconveniencing those commuting by autorickshaw and taxi in the city.
The CNG dealers have been demanding that their commission be hiked from 87 paise/kg to Rs 2.50/kg. According to the CNG dealers, the oil companies and MGL have been repeatedly ignoring the demands made by the petrol dealers’ association on their behalf. More than 1 lakh autos, 45,000 taxis and 2,500 BEST buses in city run on CNG.
On Monday, MGL, main supplier of CNG, issued a statement that read: “MGL has valid agreements with oil marketing companies (OMCs) for dispensation of CNG at their outlets. The commission paid to the petrol dealers is the sole responsibility of the OMCs. Hence, MGL is not involved in deciding the commission paid to the petrol dealers.”
Disappointed with MGL’s response, the association too has no plans to co-operate. “The stand taken by MGL is most unfortunate as the dealers get their margin from MGL. Oil companies merely give us our due commission. The last revision in 2006, too, was made by MGL, which was sent to us through the oil companies,” Ravi Shinde, president, petrol dealers’ association.
In September 2006, the three-day strike by CNG operators had led to autorickshaws and taxis going off roads. Thampy Kurien, general secretary, Mumbai Rickshawmen’s Union, said, “If the commission is hiked by increasing the price of CNG, auto and taxi unions may have to ask for revised fare structure based on the increase in the price of fuel.” A senior BEST official said, “We have separate depots for CNG and the strike will not affect our services.”