Split among them forces withdrawal of one-shift sales within hours
The one-shift sales of petroleum products resorted to by outlet owners in the State since Monday morning flopped in hours as cracks developed among dealers belonging to different public sector oil companies.
Even as Karnataka Petroleum Dealers Association chairman G.V. Bhushan Narang announced the continuation of the strike following the failure of talks between dealers and the Union Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gases in New Delhi, many Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd. (BPCL) dealers continued to keep their outlets open beyond 6 p.m., the curfew announced by the association.
Association president B.R. Raveendranath attributed this to threats of cancelling dealership by BPCL officials. Though such an action is an impossibility, many dealers ignorant about the law buckled, Mr. Raveendranath told The Hindu.
“We have been fighting for our legitimate demands. BPCL officials have created chinks amongst us,” Mr. Raveendranath said.
As the BPCL dealers continued to sell fuel, dealers of the other two public sector oil companies, Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd., followed suit. Mr. Raveendranath said: “We did not want to cause trouble to the companies and our customers.”
Meanwhile, PSU oil firms officials denied any threats to the dealers. “We just requested them to continue the business and asked them not to inconvenience customers,” an official said.
Asked whether the dealership licence stipulated any specific working hours, the official said that there was no such thing.
Mr. Narang said that the Union Petroleum Ministry on Monday sought another week to consider the demand of the dealers on the Apoorva Chandra Committee recommendations.
“We had given sufficient time — one month — to the Ministry to consider our demands. In fact, the oil companies had sent in their response to our demand to the Ministry by September-end. The Ministry is buying time,” Mr. Narang said.
Not much impact
Meanwhile, the one-shift sales did not have much impact on customers on Monday as it was a government holiday and fewer vehicles were seen on the roads.