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CNG dealers’ stir off, auto union opposes price hike

Those commuting by autorickshaws and taxis can heave a sigh of relief, at least for another month.

mumbai Updated: Nov 02, 2011 00:54 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times

Those commuting by autorickshaws and taxis can heave a sigh of relief, at least for another month.

The Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) dealers have decided to postpone their indefinite strike, which was to start on Wednesday.

The CNG dealers have been demanding that their commission be hiked from the current 87 paisa/kg to Rs2.40/kg, failing which they would go on strike which will affect more than 1 lakh autos, 45,000 taxis and 2,500 BEST buses in the city. According to the CNG dealers, oil companies and Mahanagar Gas Limited (MGL) have been repeatedly ignoring their demands.

Officials of MGL and oil marketing companies conducted a day-long meeting on Tuesday and assured the Petrol Dealers’ Association in city that their demands would be met.

A senior official with oil marketing companies said, “It was not possible to offer an immediate solution to the situation in the form of hike in commission for CNG dealers. Bodies such as the state and central authorities, oil companies and MGL are involved in fixing the commission price. In Tuesday’s meeting, all bodies have agreed to find a solution to this issue. Thus, we have requested one month’s time from the association to work on restructuring the commission prices.”

The association received a written assurance from the oil marketing companies saying that their demand would be sorted out within a month. Ravi Shinde, head of the association in Mumbai, said, “We have called off the strike for now. Authorities in the oil companies assured us that our demands would be met. We have sent messages to all CNG dealers about continuing their business without any disturbance. But we will strike if our demands are not met.”

However, Sharad Rao-led Mumbai Auto Rickshawmen’s Union has jumped into the fray announcing its decision to go on strike if CNG prices are increased.

“The decision to postpone the strike was in public interest. We did not want the common man to be held to ransom for such internal issues,” said the official from the oil marketing companies.

‘Hike demanded is extravagant’

HT Correspondent
The Mahanagar Gas Limited (MGL), which is the sole supplier of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) to the city, was blamed for not increasing the commission. VC Chittoda, managing director, MGL, tells Hindustan Times about the tension caused due to the threat of strike from the CNG dealers.

Why did the MGL neglect the association demands?

MGL has contract for distributing CNG with oil marketing companies. We don’t have any direct contract with petrol dealers and we can’t decide their commission. We took cognisance of the issues when the association wrote to us saying that they could not to sell CNG at such a low commission. They submitted a report last month.

CNG dealers received 14 paise/kg increase in past 18 years. Is their stand justified?

Oil marketing companies have agreed to disperse CNG at Rs1.40/kg till 2013 in Mumbai. In Delhi and Pune, oil companies are receiving Rs1.20/kg and in Gujarat it is Rs1.40/kg. The demand for commission of Rs2.50/kg is extravagant.

Will CNG price increase?

Nothing can be said at this point of time. We will ensure that the common man doesn’t suffer.

First Published: Nov 02, 2011 00:49 IST