Oil marketing companies — IndianOil, BPCL and HPCL —are in no mood to renegotiate the issues under the marketing discipline guidelines (MDG) that prompted dealers under the banner of Federation of All India Petroleum Traders, All India Petroleum Dealers Association and Consortium of Indian Petroleum Dealers to call for a day-long strike on October 13.
The dealers had also threatened an indefinite closure of sales and supplies from October 27 if the issues raise by them are not addressed.
Under MDG, the PSUs have introduced four amendments related to penalty and cancellation of licence on short delivery of products, timely automation of retail outlets, cleanliness and availability of toilets for public at the outlets and minimum wages for attendants and employees at retail outlets. However, all these amendments are resisted by dealers.
The dealers have also expressed their unhappiness over daily price mechanism where the price of diesel and petrol changes every day. The dealers earlier made money on price arbitrage as they would stock up on assumptions of price hikes in advance.
BS Canth, director marketing of IndianOil, said, “Although we are hopeful the strike will be called off, we are prepared to handle the situation. Since the commodity falls under the Essential Commodities Act, we can approach the state government in case of any disruption and inconvenience to the consumers.”
“A lot of dealers have already expressed their displeasure with regards to strike and many have expressed their views against the call on social media sites. Still, we are prepared to handle the situation. All our company owned and company operated retail outlets will be open for service,” he added.
Under the MDG, it has been instructed to the dealers to check their nozzles daily to avoid short delivery of products to consumers. If there is failure of compliance, the dealers will be charged `25,000 per nozzle the first time, in the second attempt the penalty will increase to Rs 50,000 per nozzle and after that the licence will be revoked.
Similarly, on the issue of minimum wages for pump attendants and employees at the outlets, PSUs have communicated that minimum payments have to be made through electronic system into the account of attendants through RTGS mode and non-compliance will have consequences. The wages provided to attendants are reimbursed by companies.
The oil marketing companies plan to automate all retail outlets by December 2018. “As of now, together the three PSUs have around 40% outlets automated. The companies aim to interlock every transaction by recording and registering them through automated operations.”