Pumping Pune with high petrol prices? Not us, says AIPDA spokesperson, but here’s why
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Pumping Pune with high petrol prices? Not us, says AIPDA spokesperson, but here’s why

The proposed one-day strike of 550 petrol pumps in Pune district on October 13, followed by an indefinite closure of purchase and sales of petrol and diesel from October 27, is to underline the long-pending demands of petrol dealers across the country. Hindustan Times spoke to All India Petroleum Dealers Association(AIPDA) spokesperson Ali Daruwalla to understand what it is exactly that the dealers want, and why.

pune Updated: Oct 10, 2017 16:11 IST
Hindustan Times, Pune
Ali Daruwalla, spokesperson, All India Petroleum Dealers Association.(HT Photo)

What are the reasons for upcoming strike?

There are basically three reasons for it. First of all, the marketing discipline guidelines are extremely draconian and harmful. Further, while deciding it, they (oil companies) did not for once seek our opinion or take us into confidence. Secondly, in November 4, 2016, companies and dealers had signed an MoU deciding on development of various issues, but all that is yet to be implemented. They have delayed it citing demonetisation as a pretext. We want them to implement those now. And, thirdly, we are protesting against the home delivery of petrol because unlike any other substance it is very harmful and without proper expert handling, it can cause huge safety hazards and accidents.

In the recent past, petrol dealers have frequently resorted to, or threatened to go on strike. Do you think this government is not listening to you?

The government has got deaf ears. They are paying no attention to almost 52,000 petrol dealers across the country who are currently the largest revenue collectors for the nation. Despite this, they are insensitive to our problems.

While dealers have some issues related to government regulations, so do consumers. Customers feel cheated by some petrol pumps in the city.

Yes it’s true. Customers do feel cheated and we are not denying it. But, then again, you find black sheep in any trade and that does not negate the wrong that is being done to all the honest dealers.

Recently, there was action from the state police against petrol pumps in Thane, Pune and Nashik after reports of tampering with the machines so as to dispense a lesser quantity of petrol. What do you have to say?

Like I said earlier, it is very unfortunate to see this happening, but the percentage is very low; less than one per cent. In Pune for instance, out of 550 pumps, this happened in only one petrol pump in the city. While we would not consider all the others guilty as well, we are not shielding anybody.

One of your demands is a rise in commission. Won’t that further increase the burden on consumers, who are already paying high rates?

Not at all. Our commission is not derived from increasing prices. What we are asking for will not increase petrol prices as oil companies have to bear this burden.

The price of fuel in India is the highest in Maharashtra. Why do you think this is so?

It is truly unfortunate and that is why petrol is the most expensive in Pune and Mumbai. That ₹9 cess is camouflaged into various aspects like drought, education, etc and it is a huge burden.

Has this affected your business in Maharashtra?

Absolutely. This can be understood by the huge hoardings put up in all the neighbouring states of Maharashtra, advertising cheaper rates of petrol. Owing to this, especially petrol dealers on the border areas are on the verge of closing down.

First Published: Oct 10, 2017 15:09 IST