Jaipur: Hundreds of petrol pumps in the Bikaner division of Rajasthan have been shut indefinitely to protest against the rise in prices of petrol and diesel due to higher taxes in the desert state which has left the people struggling to get the tanks of their vehicles filled.
These petrol pumps are situated in various districts including Sriganganagar, Hanumangarh and Bikaner divisions in Rajasthan.
The petrol pumps association alleged that fuel prices in the neighbouring states of Haryana and Punjab are lower because of which fuel pumps in Rajasthan’s Bikaner division are facing heavy losses.
They alleged that thousands of commuters including taxi and truck drivers go to Punjab districts like Abohar and others daily with empty fuel tanks and return with filled tanks as petrol is cheaper by Rs 11 per litre in Punjab.
Dinesh Saraswat, a petrol pump dealer, speaking to IANS said that the daily sale in Punjab petrol pumps situated at the borders is one lakh litres while it is just 2000 litres in Sriganganagar. “The reason is extra taxes in Rajasthan which makes petrol and diesel expensive. Earlier, only diesel was cheaper there but now the state government has slashed taxes on petrol too which has lowered its price.”
With no other option, we have staged this strike for an indefinite period, he added.
Sriganganagar in Rajasthan, touching Pakistan on one side, has Punjab as its neighbour on the other.
The strike began Sunday midnight to demand a cut in taxes so that fuel prices come down at par with neighbouring states.
The strike is effective on all vehicles except ambulances and fire brigade services which are being given fuel.
Petrol pump dealers have also demanded a check on the illegal sale of bio-diesel fuel.
Srigangaganagar petrol pump dealers said that the petrol pump owners had informed the government, but no solution has been forthcoming.
Petrol here costs Rs 119.69 per litre while diesel is Rs 110.55 which makes it the highest in the country.
Petrol pump dealers in a few regions of the Jodhpur division have also gone on strike. In Barmer, petrol pump owners staged a strike from Monday morning till 2 p.m. They ended the strike looking at the festive season, however, they will again go on strike after Diwali, said sources.
Saraswat meanwhile said that petrol should be brought under GST. In Rajasthan, taxes compared to Punjab are higher and should be brought down.