Mumbai: Petroleum Ministry while coming down heavily on petrol pump owners has slammed their decision to observe Sunday off under the pretext of answering Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call for oil conservation.
Consortium of Indian Petroleum Dealers has pressed for Sunday off for as many as 25,000 petrol pump dealers under its umbrella mostly in South India and some in parts of Maharashtra.
Earlier, Petroleum Ministry headed by Dharmendra Pradhan had said it did not approve the decision of Sunday off. "@PetroleumMin neither endorses nor approves of move by small section of dealers to keep their petrol pumps closed on Sundays @dpradhanbjp," the Ministry said in a tweet.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his monthly radio address Mann Ki Baat had appealed to the people not to use fuel for one day as part of government's save fuel, save oil campaign.
Reports said that petrol pump dealers were using pressure tactics to get their grievances heard and demands met. Petrol pump dealers had earlier warned that they would go on strike if commission on fuel sale was not increased.
These fuel dealers also wanted work hours at petrol pumps reduced and a 9 am to 6 pm work cycle for their employees. Recent decision of Sunday off is seen in some parts of country as a protest against their unfulfilled demands.
Observing Sunday off would attract punitive actions from government under Essential Commodities Act as petrol and petroleum products come under the purview of essential commodities. A man-made shortage of these commodities is illegal.
Apart from that, majority of petrol pump dealers have not said yes to the call for Sunday off and they have rejected the idea altogether.