Filling stations in the Indian state of Rajasthan will cease operations indefinitely starting Friday, September 15. The announcement comes from the Rajasthan Petroleum Dealers’ Association, which is protesting the high Value Added Tax (VAT) levied on fuel in the state. The move could significantly disrupt transportation and daily life across Rajasthan.
Rajendra Singh Bhati, the president of the association, stated on Thursday that filling stations will neither purchase nor sell fuel from or to depots beginning at 6 a.m. on September 15. The association also conducted symbolic strikes on Wednesday and Thursday to press their demand for equalizing VAT on petrol and diesel, similar to what is practiced in Punjab.
In a statement released by the association, officials said, “The executive meeting of the association was held on Thursday evening. In this, the association unanimously decided to hold a statewide indefinite strike from 6 a.m. on September 15.” The association claims that around 6,700 fuel pump owners across the state will participate in the strike.
According to Sunit Bagai, the former chief of the association, VAT on fuel in Rajasthan is higher compared to neighboring states like Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, and Gujarat. This discrepancy is causing customers in border areas to travel to these states to refuel their vehicles. Bagai explained, “Several petrol pumps in Hanumangarh and other bordering areas in Rajasthan have been shut in the last few years because of losses. People go to neighboring states for buying petrol and diesel, causing losses to petro pumps in Rajasthan.”
This issue is creating economic challenges for local fuel station owners and is affecting their ability to sustain their businesses. Additionally, the indefinite strike could pose difficulties for the public who rely on vehicular transport for work, education, and other essential activities.