Hindustan Times (Jalandhar)
Commuters hit as petrol pump dealers go on strike in Haryana
CHANDIGARH/ROHTAK/KARNAL/ HISAR: More than 2,300 fuel pumps in Haryana on Monday stopped selling petrol and diesel to consumers as petroleum dealers went on an indefinite strike to press for various demands, including lower value-added tax (VAT) on diesel. More than 2,300 fuel pumps in Haryana on Monday stopped selling petrol and diesel to consumers as petroleum dealers went on an indefinite strike to press for various demands, including lower valueadded tax (VAT) on diesel.
As many as 2,310 fuel pumps across the state went on strike from 6am, All Haryana Petroleum Dealers Association senior vice-president Palwinder Singh Oberoi said.
However, some pumps, directly owned by oil companies such as Indian Oil, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited, were open.
Dealers refused to meet Haryana BJP chief Subhash Barala on Sunday to resolve the matter, saying they would talk only to chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar.
Petroleum dealers are agitated over the alleged failure of the Haryana government to keep the tax on diesel lower than that in neighbouring states. They demanded that tax on diesel should be lower by 1-2% than the rates prevailing in neighbouring states. They claimed uniformity in tax rate on diesel in northern states would hit the sale of diesel in Haryana as 70% of the total sale of diesel is consumed by vehicles, including truck opera- tors, from other states.
AUTO-RICKSHAW, TAXI SERVICES HIT
Auto-rickshaw and taxi drivers were the worst hit due to the fuel pump dealers’ strike in Rohtak. “We don’t have money to buy diesel in bulk and buy it on a daily basis. Most of us will have to wait for the strike to end,” said auto-rickshaw driver Bhupinder Singh.
“The strike may be extended if the gover nment does not withdraw its decision,” said Bhushan Goel, the vicepresident of the All Haryana Petroleum Dealers Association (AHPDA).
The common man bore the brunt of the strike. State-owned pumps witnessed huge customer rush throughout the day.
BKU BACKS STRIKE CALL
The Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) has come out in support of the petrol pump owners. BKU state president Gurnam Singh Charuni said, “The Haryana gover nment’s decision to increase VAT on diesel affects farmers too.”
› Our office-bearers were approached by the state authorities for talks with officials on Monday evening but we have rejected the proposal. Nothing less than a rollback in VAT hike on diesel is acceptable. DINESH GOYAL, All Haryana Petrol Dealers’ Association president