Delhi petroleum dealers stage protest over kerosene ban

The government's move to make Delhi kerosene-free without providing an occupational alternative to kerosene dealers has left 93 wholesalers and 2,350 retailers in the national capital in the lurch.

Members of the association, consisting mostly war widows, physically handicapped, SC / ST and others are demanding a relief package by directly offering them either LPG distributorship or retail outlets or CNG pumps under a special rehabilitation policy.

Members of the association staged a dharna and rally at Jantar mantar in Delhi on Wednesday to protest the government's move to make Delhi kerosene-free without heeding their request for alternative allotment of natural gas or LPG dealership to those rendered jobless by the government's move.

Representatives of the association also presented a memorandum to the prime minister and the minister of petroleum and natural gas demanding justice to the Petroleum Dealers and SKO wholesale dealers of Delhi.

''We have met all concerned ministers and officials and have written thousands of letters, but they are not keen to solve our livelihood problem,' vice president of the petroleum dealer association, ML Naagar, said, adding that petroleum dealers have demanded that the government provide LPG agency to them.

He said the previous UPA government acted in a hurry to make Delhi kerosene free without any proper strategy for job options to existing petroleum dealers and kerosene oil depots. He said that all the meetings with state and central government have failed to provide any relief or rehabilitation to those being rendered unemployed.

Kerosene dealers' representative Dalbeer Singh said thousands of families are directly and indirectly involved in the distribution, dealership and retailing of kerosene oil in the capital, but now they all are jobless.

Before Delhi was made kerosene-free, dealers used to sell more than 9,000 kilolitres of kerosene oil through 2,350  agents, who in turn distributed the oil through the public distribution system and 93 wholesale dealers who collect the oil from petroleum companies.

The Petroleum Dealers and KOD Holders Association is planning a long-drawn protest over the alleged apathy on the part of Delhi government and the petroleum ministry towards their long pending demands, Nagar said.

''If our demand is not fulfilled within a month then we are planning to gherao parliament in the coming winter session,'' he added.