The one day protest on May 31 called by the dealers of petrol and diesel didn't have much affect on Mumbaikars. These fuel stations had sufficient stock in their tanks and pumps that lasted through the day.
According to petrol dealers, they had sufficient stock of fuel in their tanks and had no intention to cause problems to motorists. "Many of the dealers had filled up their tanks which has a capacity to last 2-3 days. We didn't buy or refill the stock from oil marketing companies as a mark of protest which went on well. We hope that the government takes stock of the situation and heed to our demands," said a petrol and diesel dealer who is part of Maharashtra Petrol Dealers Association.
Sources said that the petrol pump dealers cannot go on strike as they fall under essential services. However they claim that if the government don't take adequate steps to increase their commission apart from other demands; then they will have to take serious action.
Usually a pump owner refills three different types of fuel --- regular petrol, diesel and branded petrol. The average tank capacity at any fuel station for each of them is around 8-10000 litres or so or even more depending on the size of the fuel station.
There are around 7400 petrol dealers in Maharashtra who are part of 70000 fuel stations across 24 states who participated in the protest. There are around 150 fuel stations in the Mumbai.
Meanwhile in Mumbai, the mood around the petrol pumps in the city seemed to have mixed reactions regarding the protest by dealers. Even though the petrol dealers were protesting the business at most of the petrol pumps in the city seemed to be as usual, with no shortage of fuel for the customers.
A petrol dealer from a pump at Mumbai central said, "We are following the strike, we have not refuelled our pump today. We cannot completely stop the supply of fuel but atleast by such acts the government will get some intimation that we are not happy and we want our demands to be met."
Another dealer at Bandra said, "We have been protesting against this for five years, our margin has not been increased. Every year we try to show some agitation but nothing has changed. Our union members have been protesting since morning and were there till late evening. I am not sure if the government will change their decision because of our protests or not, but we cannot just sit idol, we have to do at least something about it,"
A petrol pump staff at a company petrol pump, at churchgate said, "We have refueled our pump today just like regular days. Also the crowd at our pump has been normal even though some petrol pumps are on strike. If there was a severe shortage of fuel at the pumps then we would see more crowd at our pump but there wasn't any extra crowding or lack of fuel at most petrol pumps."
The Petrol and Diesel pumps did not buy fuel from refill their tanks from oil marketing companies (OMCs). The protest is because of their demand that there has been no revision in the their commissions despite rise in petrol and diesel prices for past few years now. Another reason for the protest is the losses incurred due to the drop in fuel prices.
Pumps were open for sale of petrol and diesel. Some other demands include reimbursement of money lost due to the reduction in taxes and duties that was done on a weekend while they refilled their tanks with previous prices as on May 20. On an average each fuel station owner is losing anywhere between Rs 5-15 lakh.