Fuel station strike catches many Delhiites unawares
Many commuters in Delhi were caught unawares on Monday morning as around 400 fuel stations began a 23-hour long shutdown. The fuel station owners are pressing the Delhi government to slash value-added tax (VAT) on the key transport fuels to cut their losses.
“I did not know about the strike. I was informed when I reached the petrol pump,” said Avinash Chaudhary who was sent back from a petrol pump near New Friends Colony in South Delhi.
Another commuter, Vipul Sinha, who uses a two-wheeler, had to return from a petrol pump in Ashram, also in South Delhi. “Nobody cares about people. They should have informed commuters before going on a strike,” he said.
The strike was called by Delhi Petrol Dealers Association (DPDA) which has blamed the Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government for refusing to reduce VAT on petrol and diesel prices.
Kejriwal has, however, termed the strike ‘BJP-sponsored’. His cabinet colleague and transport minister Satyender Jain said fuel prices were the lowest in the national capital among the country’s four metro cities.
DPDA secretary Anil Bijlani said the strike that started at 6 am Monday was successful and the petrol pumps will resume normal work at 5 am on Tuesday. Many other commuters who were aware of the strike had tanked up their vehicles on Sunday.
Another strike called by the autorickshaw and taxi unions failed to evoke much response as autos and taxis were seen plying on the roads.
Inderjeet Singh of Sanyukt Sangharsh Samiti, said a delegation of the union would hand their memorandum to demands to the Prime Minister’s Office. The Samiti is one of the major auto-taxi unions in Delhi that had called for the one-day strike to protest against the Delhi government’s policies on cab aggregators Uber and Ola, and the Centre’s rule on speed governors.
“We have assembled at Rajghat. Auto rickshaws are plying but they extended support to our call. Thousands of taxis will not operate for four hours,” he said.