Cochin: Pump operators in Kerala are planning to close shops on all Sundays beginning from August 15. They also say that they would not stay open after 8 pm.
It is the scarcity of ordinary fuel compared to the not-so popular premium ones and the extra money incurred on power which is making them take such a tough stand.
“The rising power tariff, poor dealer commission, loss caused by evaporation of fuel makes it impossible for us to stick to a 24x7 operation,” says District President, All Kerala Federation of Petroleum Products, Radhakrishnan.
The demand is all set to add to the consumer woes in Kerala. “Depending on the need, we can buy petrol. What if someone has to be taken to the hospital immediately and I don’t have petrol in my tank on a Sunday,” asks consumer, Abraham Mathew.
Mini-lorry driver, Manikandan asks, “In my lorry the load is taken in on Saturday evening and I have to transport it on a Sunday. What will I do if there are no pumps on Sundays.”
Meanwhile, the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government in Kerala says, it will evoke the essential services maintenance act if the need arises.
“The Government cannot remain as a mere on-looker. We are bound to protect the rights of the consumers and the general public,” says Minister for Food and Civil Supplies, Government of Kerala, C Divakaran.
Although the pump operators might have their own reasons for demanding a day's holiday, but with the Government determined to stand by the consumer, the demand of a Sunday off may perhaps remain as a demand forever.