The government can invoke Essential Commodities Act (ECA) over the decision by the Consortium of Indian petroleum dealers of shutting down the petrol pumps across eight states from May 14.
Commenting over the matter, on Wednesday, the Centre said the threat by the association would be dealt according to the measures necessary to maintain supplies of essential commodities.
A senior Petroleum Ministry source reportedly said the government got to know about the fuel association decision through media reports only.
"We have to wait and see how this measure impacts on the ground... because petroleum products are classed essential commodities and the Essential Commodities Act (ECA) can be applied depending on the circumastances," the source said.
On Tuesday, a fuel pump owners' body, the Consortium of Indian petroleum dealers had said that petrol pumps in eight states would be shut every Sunday following Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call to conserve oil.
The association has decided to shut the outlets in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Puducherry, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra and Haryana.
"We had planned to shut our outlets on Sundays a few years back. But oil marketing companies 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 'Mann 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 petrol pumps in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Puducherry, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra and Haryana would be shut for 24 hours on Sundays, starting May 14.
"In Tamil Nadu, we expect a business loss of Rs 150 crore if we do not operate on a Sunday. But we have been seeing a decline in sales on Sundays by upto 40 per cent," he said.
When enquired about whether the oil marketing companies (OMCs) are supporting the decision or not, Kumar said that the association would inform them soon.
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