Nagpur: Today Petrol and Diesel prices are more than a Rupee down since yesterday. This is how dealers across the state have fared:
For a dealer outside Nagpur, yesterday petrol was : Rs.78.58
Today it is Rs. 76.86.
Diesel was Rs. 61.64; Today it is Rs. 59.91
This dealer had 4 tanks of fuel stored from yesterday, when he had bought both fuels dearer. His straight loss runs into Rs. 2 lakhs at least.
In Nagpur, rates Friday 16th June, are: Petrol: Rs. 76.35
Diesel – Rs. 60.35
All Nagpur pumps who have carried stocks from yesterday, are going to suffer losses with price falling.
Mumbai dealers who have larger operations will suffer in lakhs!
Uday Loth, President of Federation of All Maharashtra Petroleum Dealers Association (FAMPDA) said that it seems clear that the government does not want Petroleum dealers of all Public Sector Oil companies like Indian Oil, Bharat Petroleum etc to survive, since this daily changing rate is applicable only to them.
Pumps of private companies like Reliance have no such rules applicable to them. They can charge according to their company policy.
“Some time we wonder if the British East India Company is still running us or we have our own government who is supposed to care for our well being and survival?” Asked on petroleum dealer in frustration. Of course he does not want to be named ! He knows he will be immediately branded as a ‘desh drohi’ and maybe arrested too.
But one opinion runs commonly across all the dealers in the state -” it is time to think of some other business. We cannot continue like this for long.”
FAMPDA and other state associations have been with loggerheads with the Modi government right since the beginning. The changed policies of the PSU Petroleum companies had almost resulted in an All India strike by ALL states’ associations two years ago till a midnight call to Assn head from Petroleum Minister succeeded in sabotaging the strike my making vague promises that were never fulfilled.
Relations with government have been strained since then and petrol pump owners have been declaring their protests by threatening to keep closed on Sundays or working only between 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
But this daily changing price is going to be the last straw on their back.
“The situation is so bad already and the Companies (IOC etc.) are not giving us any clear directions or assurances about their pricing policies to us on the other hand. ” Said Uday Loth.
Said Neelkanth Yawalkar, an IOC dealer from Amraoti District; “we will be selling blind on any given day. The price we will be levied for material already sold will be declared the next day morning by the company when we place a fresh Purchase order.”
Dealers agree that daily pricing of petrol is the system in USA, Canada etc. And pump owners have no problems.
“But that is because they have completely automatized man less operations over there. There could be a huge pump with even 50 filling machines all being self operated. Forget helpers filling petrol and cleaning your windscreen etc., they do not often have Managers at the site even. A customer first makes payment through his Credit/Debit card and then fills in ‘gas’ himself. It is all ‘self service’. So they have literally no operating expenses.”
The commissions they get are also attractive in USA and other first countries on sale of fuel.
In India, dealers associations claim that the commission offered by PSU companies is so low that it does not cover their costs. On top of it, if they make losses due to daily pricing, the business will become untenable.
“Unfortunately” said the President of FAMPDA, “common Indians perceive petrol pump owners as being ‘very rich’. They do not bother if we suffer and have to close down our business’. They will realize what has happened only when public sector units stop selling petrol and private players like Reliance rule the roost and determine their own daily prices.”