Petrol pump dealers call off their October 13 strike

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Petrol pump dealers under the United Petrol front (UPF) who had chose to go on a day-long strike on October 13 to protest against the government over their demands not being fulfilled have now squared off the idea after state-owned oil firms warned them of stern action including cancellation of contracts if the strike happened.

The associations had also said the new marketing discipline guidelines announced by OMCs, which is effective from October 2, was "arbitrary, unjustified and unconstitutional" as it aims to penalise dealers if they sell less volume to consumers than the prescribed levels.

Shashikala further said that if the Centre does not fulfil the demands the Federation would launch an indefinite stir from October 27. Besides, there are demands too for which the dealers are raising voice.

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UPF comprises the Federation of All India Petroleum Traders, All India Petroleum Dealers Association and Consortium of Indian Petroleum Dealers. "We have withdrawn the proposed strike since oil companies have advised us to do that", an office-bearer at one dealer association said. Still he added he "expects them to see reason and act accordingly, as there is no demand which are met".

"We have been fighting for our rights since long but neither the oil marketing companies (OMCs) nor the Union Government is paying heed to it". Hoping that the strike may not happen, OMC officials said luckily hundreds of dealers are coming onto social media saying they are not joining the strike. Gupta said, dealers are also opposing the practice of imposing penalty on dealers if any fault occurs in the fuel dispensing machines.

He said automated machines to fill oil in the vehicles are supplied and installed by the companies, yet the outlets are penalised and threatened of cancellation of licences if any error or malfunctioning occurs in the machines. "In such a situation, dealers should not be held responsible for any fault in the machines", he said.

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