Residents faced a harrowing time on Sunday as all 334 fuel-filling stations in the district remained shut due to a strike by the petrol pump owners.
The strike was, however, called off later in the evening, after the police assured of solving the cases, and providing security.
Protesting against the spurt in crime against petrol pump owners, and the police inaction, different petrol pump associations under the Ludhiana Petroleum Dealers’ Association pressed for security, and threatened to extend the strike, indefinitely, if their demands are not met.
Vehicle owners, ignorant of the strike, were left disappointed, finding the pumps shut. Many vehicle owners were seen making inquiries about the reasons for the closure. Those who travel every day to far-flung areas found themselves in a tight spot.
“I was going for a medical check-up, and my scooter is on reserve mode. Had I known that today is a strike, I could have made prior arrangement. What am I supposed to do now when not even a single petrol pump in Ludhiana is serving petrol?” rued Mehar Chand of Haibowal, who came to fill petrol in his scooter at a filing station on the Cemetery road.
Another visitor to a petrol pump near Bharat Nagar roundabout, Sanjeev Kumar, said he and his family members waited for about 15 minutes before the pollution checker told them about the strike. “We were going for shopping and movie, but with no petrol left in our vehicle, we will head back to our home now.”
Meghna, Kajal and Antima, a group of friends, who were also going for shopping in a car, said the strike spoiled their day.
Many were also seen making alternate arrangements by hiring taxis or auto-rickshaw.
Lashing out on the police department’s “apathy” in dealing with “the rising criminal incidents at filling stations”, the Ludhiana Petroleum Dealers’ Association has threatened to give a call for an indefinite strike. Association general secretary Manjit Singh said, “Despite the rising robberies and assault cases at filling stations, police have taken no measure for our safety. Fearing loss of life, many staffers have decided to quit working at the filling stations. If we are not provided security, we will resume our strike.” He later told that the Ludhiana Commissioner of Police assured them of tight security in the days to come, mainly in the areas where maximum robberies have taken place. Therefore, they decided to call off the strike.