Petroleum dealers of state-owned oil marketing companies are getting ready for a ‘no purchase, no sales' agitation from April 23.
At the crux of their protest is the demand for more commission as recommended by a committee constituted by the Ministry of Petroleum, when they threatened to launch a similar protest in September, 2010. The committee also made other recommendations, including a review of the commission every six months and permitting the dealers to levy a charge for facilities offered free of cost .
The Federation of All India Petroleum Traders, according to Tamilnadu Petroleum Dealers Association President M. Kannan, wants the government to implement in full the report.
The recommended increase in the commission was Rs.393 a kilo litre for petrol and Rs.170 a kilo litre for diesel, whereas the Ministry gave Rs.281 a kilo litre for petrol and Rs.155 a kilo litre for diesel, he said.
While turning down the demand for fixing the commission as a percentage of the retail selling price of the products, the committee said that in a deregulated scenario, a rise in international oil prices would mean a higher dealer commission not for any actual increase in costs and “would, therefore, be akin to a windfall profit at the cost of the consumer.”
But, it recommended the introduction of State level dealer commission rates, taking into account the product prices of the State as against the existing uniform commission nationwide. The State level commission would help account for the variation in the wages and electricity charges.
The committee said that “some facilities such as water, air and toilets have been provided traditionally free at the ROs. However, a cost is incurred in maintaining and providing these facilities. . Hence, there is no reason why retail outlets should provide free service of toilets.
Noting that a staff needed to be deployed for filling air in tyres, it recommended the following charges: Rs.2 per use; air for car/jeep — Rs.5; air for 2/3-wheelers — Rs.2; air for trucks/buses — Rs.20; and air for any other vehicle — Rs.10. For toilets, it suggested a charge of Rs.2.