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Govt denounces bid to shut petrol pumps on Sundays

IANS | New Delhi |

The Centre on Friday denounced the decision of a petroleum dealers' association to keep fuel outlets shut on Sundays starting May 14.

"The Petroleum Ministry does not approve or endorse the move by a section of petrol pump dealers to close down fuel stations on Sundays," Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan told the Parliamentary Consultative Committee at a meeting in Srinagar according to an official statement here. 

Earlier this week, the Consortium of Indian Petroleum Dealers informed the media of their decision to shut fuel bunks every Sunday starting May 14 to protest the public sector oil companies' failure to hike dealer margins.

The decision will cover Haryana, Maharashtra and the entire southern region — Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Kerala as well as Puducherry.

Dealers' body representatives told the media on Tuesday that their decision was in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's recent call to save petrol and diesel.

"Major dealers' federations have clarified that they don't endorse any closure of petrol pumps on any day," the Petroleum Ministry tweeted.

"The Prime Minister in #MannKiBaat appealed to People of India not to use fuel once a week and not to dealers to close their pumps on Sundays," it said in a separate tweet.

All India Petroleum Dealers Association president Ajay Bansal told reporters that the association, which has nearly 46,000 petrol pump owners as members, is not participating in the Sunday closure.

Petroleum Ministry sources have said that the threat to shut down pumps on Sundays will be dealt with according to measures necessary to maintain supplies of essential commodities as petroleum products come under this category.