Marketing directors of the three state-run OMCs – IOC, BPCL and HPCL – on Tuesday issued a point-by-point rebuttal of the allegations made by petrol dealers’ association and expressed their anguish at the call for holding a strike on October 13th. The OMC directors said that in the last 11 months, dealers’ commission was hiked thrice, latest hike being on August 1, taking the total dealer commission to Rs 3.50/L for petrol and Rs 2.10/L for diesel and Rs 45/cylinder for cooking gas, PTI reports. BS Canth, Marketing Director, Indian Oil said that commission was also hiked in November 2016 and March 2017.
“Their demands are very unreasonable as almost all their demands have been met and issues resolved. Also, this is not a professional way of calling a strike. They did not intimate us on this. We came to know about it in the media,” Canth was quoted as saying by PTI. “But if they’ve issues with new marketing discipline guidelines and the penalties for not implementing them, then all I can say is that only those flouting these norms need to worry. These are for the benefit of the public,” Canth said, adding “we still hope they won’t go ahead with the strike.” He further added he “expects them to see reason and act accordingly.” BPCL marketing director S Ramesh said that OMCs fail to understand why dealers are not happy with the new wages implemented for bunker attendants as the entire wage hike of up to 49 per cent has been absorbed by OMCs.
“In fact, it’s a question of short-changing labourers, flouting government fixed minimum wages,” said an OMC official. Responding to a question on whether OMCs will approach state to invoke Essential Services Maintenance Act (Esma) against dealers, they said, “we still hope the dealers will listen to reason as all these measures that they are protesting are in public interest.”
“But having said that we’ll definitely be talking to state respective administrations to look at any measure that will ensure that the public is not inconvenienced,” they said. Last Friday, the United Petroleum Front (UPF) had called for a one-day nationwide strike on October 13 demanding a number of demands which included better margins, doing away with steep monetary penalties for not meeting the new marketing discipline guidelines and bringing petroleum items under GST.