Petrol bunks in seven states and the union territory of Puducherry will remain shut on Sundays beginning 14 May as dealers pitch in to save both fuel and foreign exchange following Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call, fuel pump owners' body said in Chennai on Tuesday.
"We had planned to shut our outlets on Sundays a few years back. But oil marketing companies (OMCs) had then requested us to reconsider our decision. Now we have decided to shut the outlets on Sundays," said Suresh Kumar, an executive committee member of the consortium of Indian petroleum dealers.
He said the association's decision was made in view of the prime minister's call during his recent 'Man ki baat' programme to conserve oil to save the environment.
Kumar, also the vice-president of Tamil Nadu Petroleum Dealers Association, said nearly 20,000 outlets in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Puducherry, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra and Haryana would be shut for 24 hours on Sundays, starting 14 May.
"In Tamil Nadu, we expect a business loss of Rs150 crore if we do not operate on a Sunday. But we have been seeing a decline in sales on Sundays by up to 40 per cent," reports quoted Kumar as saying.
He said there were around 4,850 outlets selling petrol and diesel in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry alone.
He said the Sunday-holiday decision will save around 20 per cent fuel burned in the country.
According to him, in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, there were 250-300 outlets owned by oil marketing companies which are not members of the association.
"We are within our right to declare Sunday a holiday. All these days we have been functioning paying workers double wages," he said.
He said all the outlets will have one staffer on Sundays who will supply fuel in an emergency.
In Mumbai, the President of the Federation of All Maharashtra Petrol Dealers Association, Udah Lodh, said the move was in support of various demands with the oil marketing companies and other long-pending issues.
From 15 May, he said, the petrol pumps in the seven states and Puducherry will work only on a single day shift - 9 am to 6 pm.
The move will affect around 4,500 petrol pumps in Maharashtra alone, including 225 in Mumbai, where some 100,000 staffers work, mostly in two shifts and some in three shifts.
A weekly holiday plus working on a single shift on other days will help the petrol pumps to drastically reduce their running expenditure, he added.