United Petroleum Front, an umbrella organisation of three nationwide organisations of all petrol dealers controlling 54,000 petrol pumps across the country has announced a day-long strike on October 13 protesting against discrepancies in supply and demand to include petroleum products under the Goods and Services Tax (GST).
Another union, the All India Petroleum Dealers Association president Ajay Bansal told news agencies that his union will go on indefinite strike from October 27. Both the unions are also demanding an increase in dealer margins and commissions, as well as a solution to supply discrepancies.
Earlier, the petrol and diesel dealers’ strike against daily revision of petrol and diesel prices scheduled on June 16 was deferred. The petroleum dealers’ body is demanding for an automated system to reflect price changes from the state-run oil marketing companies to avoid stopping sales every midnight to change the daily rates.
Opposition Congress also supported their demand to bring petroleum products under the GST. Elaborating on Rahul Gandhi’s demand to slap GST on petroleum products, party spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala on Saturday said it would put an automatic brake on the Centre and the States levying as high as 70 to 80 per cent tax to fill their coffers while ignoring the common man’s plight.
He pointed out the petroleum products even in the highest 28 per cent slab will drastically reduce their prices as today the Centre is alone earning Rs 2.73 lakh crore and the states making further revenue. If all central and state taxes on the petroleum products are put together, they will be more than 70 to 80 per cent, he said, pointing out that the concept of a broad GST is impossible until petroleum products, electricity and real estate are brought under its purview.