Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar's petrol pumps witnessed long queues of vehicle owners starting Monday evening due to a nationwide strike initiated by truck drivers. The rush began when rumours circulated that fuel supplies at these pumps would soon dwindle, prompting people to flock to almost every petrol station in the city.
The strike, called by truck drivers, aimed to protest against a new law governing hit-and-run incidents. Specifically, they opposed the substantial fines stipulated for drivers involved in such cases, citing their meager salaries and inability to afford such penalties. Their demand centered on the cancellation of this Act.
The Bharatiya Nyay Sanhita (BNS), replacing the Indian Penal Code (IPC), mandates severe penalties, including up to 10 years in prison or a ₹7 lakh fine, for drivers causing grave accidents due to negligence and fleeing the scene—a significant increase from the prior two-year penalty.
Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar district receives its petrol and diesel supply from the Panewadi fuel depot in Manmad. However, with the strike called on Monday, approximately 2,000 truck drivers ceased fuel transportation, leading to a complete shutdown of fuel filling. Consequently, city petrol pumps remained devoid of fuel supplies on Monday. This scarcity triggered a rush among vehicle owners at major stations like Mahavir Chowk, Kranti Chowk, Cidco, and others, fearing imminent fuel depletion affecting their daily activities.
Reports of lengthy queues persisted at these pumps till midnight and extended into Tuesday afternoon.
In parallel, truck and tanker drivers staged a Chhaka Jam protest in the Waluj area, causing traffic disruptions along the Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar – Ahmednagar Highway. Police intervention ensued, urging the demonstrators to cease their protest. After negotiations with senior officers, the agitation concluded, and traffic resumed its normal flow.
Following discussions between the administration and the depot authorities, the agitation at the Panewadi fuel depot was called off on Tuesday afternoon. Expectations are high for the swift resumption of truck operations, resolving the fuel scarcity in the district.