Petrol bunk owners in Hyderabad end strike
Petrol bunks in Hyderabad and other major cities and towns in Andhra Pradesh reopened Monday afternoon after a nearly 24-hour strike to protest against the crackdown on some outlets allegedly tampering dispensing units.
The owners of the fuel stations decided to call off the strike following talks with officials of the Legal Metrology Department, which deals with weights and measures.
The breakthrough was achieved after Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan asked Chief Secretary P.K. Mohanty to take necessary steps to end the strike.
Thousands of motorists thronged the petrol bunks as soon as they reopened in Hyderabad. The crowd at a few stations led to traffic jams on the main roads.
Earlier, the flash strike, which began Sunday evening, continued in the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad, Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada and other towns causing severe inconvenience to vehicle owners.
Many motorists were seen outside the closed fuel stations. As some bunks of the Indian Oil were open, many pushed their two-wheelers to the nearest open outlet.
But even at the bunks which were functioning, long queues were seen. The motorists stood for hours for their turn.
The authorities Saturday launched a state-wide crackdown on fuel stations to check the usage of dispensing pumps that lack mandatory approval. The officials booked about 50 cases.
According to the AP Federation of Petroleum Traders, the dispensing pumps are installed by oil companies and seeking approval was their responsibility.
The dealers argue that if there are technical glitches in the dispensing units, they can't be held responsible as oil companies have installed them.
The federation alleged that the officials were shutting down the bunks without giving notice. The traders have threatened to continue the strike till the raids stopped.
Last month, 10 bunks were sealed on charges of tampering fuel dispensing units using remote control.
There are 6,000 fuel stations in the state, including 1,000 in Hyderabad and neighbouring Ranga Reddy district.
(Posted on 03-03-2014)