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Truckers, auto bodies oppose daily fuel rate fixation

From May 1, the three major oil companies will kickstart a pilot project for daily fuel rate fixation in five states, based on dollar rates and international crude oil price. Though Tamil Nadu is not covered in the pilot project, the oil companies have stated that they would be gradually extending this pattern across the country.

Truckers, auto bodies oppose daily fuel rate fixation
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However, this has led to strong protests from truckers and autorickshaw federations who are unhappy with the existing bimonthly rate revision, which came into effect a couple of years ago. “Day-to-day fuel price fixation has worked out in a few developed countries because of transparency in the process. But it is not the same in India,” said State Lorry Owners Federation-Tamil Nadu (SLOF-TN) president MR Kumarasamy.

He told DTNEXT that the prevailing fuel price in the retail market remained at par with the prices at which petrol and diesel were sold when the international crude oil price was $140 a barrel. “Now it is around $50 a barrel. While other countries are getting fuel at a third of the price at which we are getting it, we are paying more as a result of tax increases when the crude oil price drops,” Kumarasamy added.

He said that the daily revision would directly affect truckers as they would not be able to keep revising the tariff frequently. He recalled that a few years ago, fuel rates were revised every six months, which was later reduced to once in two months and then to the prevailing bi-monthly mode. “Truckers federations are holding talks with the local associations and with the All India Motor Transport Congress over the issue,” the SLOF-TN president added. 

President of the Coimbatore District Autorickshaw Workers All Association Joint Action Committee PK Sukumaran alleged that daily rate fixation is to deceive people by increasing the price by a few paise every day, unlike the existing pattern in which the revision is visible by one or two rupees. 

Fuel station dealers too feel that there would be trouble handling the situation whenever there is a hike in fuel rates. “Now the price revision is announced and revised. So customers are aware of the prevailing price. In the new pattern, chances for customers to know the rate on a day to day basis are remote and we could face trouble handling customers,” said a dealer in Coimbatore. 

The Tamil Nadu Petroleum Dealers Association (TNPDA) is likely to come out with an announcement on the new rate fixation pattern on Tuesday.

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