Special Correspondent

KOCHI: The All-Kerala Federation of Petroleum Traders has raised concern over the reopening of nearly 100 petrol bunks of a private sector oil company which were closed without notice when fuel prices were ruling high a year ago.

M. Radhakrishnan, secretary of the federation, told The Hindu that the only reason for their closure could have been the thin profit margins when the prices went up. They resumed functioning when the prices fell.

Nearly 1,600 petrol bunks of public sector oil companies had remained open even by incurring a loss of Rs.10 a litre of petrol sold when the international crude prices hovered around $145 a barrel. The bunks that were closed then had been carrying out about one-fifth of the business in the State, and when they shut shop, the public sector outlets came under pressure and the government lost revenue.

He said the situation could resurface in the event of the oil prices moving up again. Such a tactic would adversely affect the prospects of the public sector company outlets as it would contribute to mounting losses. The federation had discussed the issue and decided to bring it before the notice of the authorities.