M A I N   N E W S

Dealers stop lifting petrol, diesel from IOC godowns
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 4
Petroleum dealers have warned that 50 per cent of the petrol stations across the state could go dry from tomorrow.

As the issue between the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) and the petroleum dealers regarding the transportation of petroleum products remains unsolved, the dealers have stopped lifting petrol and diesel from the company’s godowns, which means that they would sell oil only till their stocks last.

The company, which agreed to permit dealers to use their tankers to get petrol and diesel, today stopped them again following which the dealers did not lift petroleum products.

On an average, stock of any petrol station lasts for two-three days, which means that from tomorrow onwards the IOC pumps could start facing this problem.

Of the nearly 1,300 petrol stations in the state, the IOC has 650. The petroleum dealers in the state have been using their own tankers to get petrol and diesel from the IOC. However, recently, the company gave the contract of transporting petroleum products to a private transportation company to decrease cost of transportation.

The dealers are opposing this move due to fear of adulteration by the transporters. The IOC petrol stations across the state went on strike on January 1 to mark the dealers’ protest against this decision.

“The company gave an assurance that it would allow us to use our own tankers for transporting petrol and diesel. We used our tankers for two days, but today again the company stopped us and wants the transportation companies to do this job,” said Mr Ashok Sachdeva, general secretary, Ludhiana Petroleum Dealers Association.

According to the dealers, they have been using their own vehicles for transportation for the past eight years. “Our fear regarding adulteration is not unfounded. Earlier too the decision that dealers, not transportation companies, would do this job was taken due to case of adulteration. If a dealer gets adulterated product, it would be his licence that would be cancelled. Why should we take that risk,” he asked.

The root of the problem lies in transportation charges, which the company wants to be reduced.

Petroleum dealers of the state met today at Jalandhar to discuss the issue. “The tender floated by the IOC for the transportation of oil and diesel kept dealers out. We have decided not to receive any product from the company unless they permit us to use our own vehicles,” said Mr J.P. Khanna, president, Punjab Petroleum Dealers Association.

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