In a move which may signal relief for lakhs of commuters, the petroleum ministry has criticised the decision of a section of petrol pump operators, mostly in South India, to keep outlets shut on Sundays, saying such a move will cause inconvenience to the general public.
Referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's appeal of not using fuel for a day to help cut India's import dependence, the ministry said it was aimed at conserving fuel and not for petrol pump owners to remain shut on Sundays.
On the issue of Modi's slogan, the ministry said, "The Prime Minister in #MannKiBaat appealed to People of India not to use fuel once a week and not to dealers to close their pumps on Sundays." "@PetroleumMin neither endorses nor approves of move by a small section of dealers to keep their petrol pumps closed on Sundays," the ministry said in a series of tweets.
Such closure, it said, "by a small section of dealers will lead to inconvenience for the general public". The tweets, which were retweeted by Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, also stated that major dealer associations are not participating in the closure.
"Major dealers' federations have clarified that they don't endorse any closure of petrol pumps on any day," a tweet went. From May 14, petrol pumps in eight states including Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Maharashtra will remain closed on Sundays.