Legal metrology authorities give them time to replace the unapproved dispensing pumps
The flash strike launched by fuel stations in the State capital on Sunday was called off on Monday afternoon following successful talks between the Legal Metrology Department and fuel station owners. The strike was launched in protest against the raids conducted by Legal Metrology Department on fuel stations in the city and outskirts.
After calling off the strike, M. Prabhakar Reddy, the president Federation of A.P. Petroleum Traders said “Legal metrology authorities have given us time to replace the dispensing pumps that lacked approvals and hence we are withdrawing the strike.”
Meanwhile, the strike left motorists in lurch and many children could not go to their schools as autorickshaw drivers skipped their trips, citing fuel shortage.
There are about 1,000 fuel stations in Hyderabad and Ranga Reddy. With majority of these fuel stations shutting their operations, motorists thronged the 10-odd fuel outlets operated by oil companies in different locations, including R.P. Road, East Marredpally, A.S.Rao Nagar, Ranigunj, Chanchalguda, Hitec City, Begumpet and Madhapur and the two stations operated by the Civil Supplies Department at Secretariat and L.B. Nagar.
As a result, traffic went haywire in these areas with motorists standing in long serpentine queues jutting onto the main thoroughfares. Traffic authorities had tough time in monitoring the vehicular movement and ambulances got stuck in traffic jams at the Secretariat. In a few localities, motorists were seen having arguments with fuel station workers demanding fuel.
“Petrol and diesel come under the Essential Commodities Act, how can dealers strike without prior notice. Oil companies and Civil Supplies Department should take stern action against the dealers,” fumed A. Sathi Reddy, general secretary of A.P. Auto Drivers Samakhya.
Cashing on the situation, roadside kiosks at Chandrayangutta, Malakpet, Shahalibanda, Nampally, Lakdikapul and other areas made brisk business by charging Rs.150 for per litre petrol.
The raids conducted on fuel stations were an effort to check usage of dispensing pumps lacking mandatory approvals. Authorities claimed that by using remotes, operators at fuel stations could change the price, density and delivery speed of the fuel. However, fuel station owners maintained that dispensing pumps are supplied and installed by oil companies.