Petrol pump dealers in Uttar Pradesh have announced that they will not operate their fuel stations for eight hours every day, as long as their demand for an increase in commission is not met.
The association of petrol dealers collectively called for this strike across the state to step up the pressure on the government to increase the commission given to them in wake of the recent rise in the price of petrol.
Speaking to reporters in Lucknow on Monday, Aman Verma, a petrol pump manager, said that with rising inflation it has become very difficult for them to manage the expenses of a petrol station.
He blamed the central and state authorities had failed to address the woes of the petrol pump dealers despite repeated reminders.
"Dealers of the petrol pump are protesting and demanding an increase in the commission. We have been demanding hike in the commission for past many days but nothing has been done so far. Expenses at the petrol pump are increasing day by day. Water and electricity is also getting expensive. Therefore dealers have decided that we will close the petrol pump for one shift and they will open at 12 p.m.," said Verma.
Meanwhile, the strike has caused great inconvenience to the locals especially office goers and day to day commuters as they were seen queuing outside the petrol stations
Nitin Sharma, a resident, said that he was not aware of the strike and now he was left with no other option but to park his vehicle on the roadside.
Brijprakash Ved, another resident, said lashed out at petrol pump dealers for going on strike.
"This is very wrong as petrol is needed in day to day activities. If someone has to go to hospital with a patient and if there is no petrol, how will he manage?" asked Ved.
Similar scenario could be seen in Moradabad, where people were seen standing in queue at petrol pumps.
Rising fuel prices have boosted Indian inflation in September to 7.8 percent, its highest level since November, undermining the government case calling for an interest rate cut by the RBI this month to boost the sluggish economy.
The government had recently raised the price of heavily subsidised diesel to rein in its fiscal deficit and counter the threat of becoming the first of the big emerging economies to be downgraded to junk.
A cabinet committee increased diesel prices by 5 rupees per litre. That translates as a 14 percent rise, including taxes.
Inflation has been above 7 percent in each month since late 2009. And still-high spending on fuel, food and fertiliser subsidies could drive the fiscal deficit to 6 percent of GDP for the financial year ending in March, above New Delhi's target of 5.1 percent, Standard and Poor's said last week.
The rating agency reiterated its warning that India still faced a one-in-three chance of a credit rating downgrade over the next 24 months.
The response to the global economic slowdown could also keep the RBI on a tight leash. Massive asset purchase programmes unveiled by central banks in the United States, Europe and Japan could stoke global commodity prices, which would keep domestic prices on the boil.