Over 2,300 fuel pumps in Haryana have stopped selling petrol and diesel to consumers as petroleum dealers on Monday, July 20, went on an indefinite strike to press for various demands, including lower Value Added Tax (VAT) on diesel.

As many as 2,310 fuel pumps across the state went on strike from 6 am in the morning, All Haryana Petroleum Dealers Association Senior vice president Palwinder Singh Oberoi said on Monday.

Petroleum dealers will not buy and sell fuel as per their protest, he said.

However, some the fuel pumps, which are directly owned by oil companies like Indian Oil, BPCL and HPCL, are open.

“As per our decision taken on July 17, all petroleum dealers of Haryana today went on indefinite strike,” Oberoi said.

There is a complete shut down of fuel outlets across the state, including Gurgaon, he claimed.

Dealers have also refused to meet Haryana BJP Chief Subhash Barala for resolving the matter, saying they will talk only with Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar.

“Yesterday, we were asked to hold a meeting with Haryana BJP President Subhash Barala. But we refused to meet him as he had earlier failed to honour his promise. But we are ready to talk with Chief Minister if we receive any message in this regard from government side,” Oberoi said.

The monthly sale of diesel in Haryana stands at 53 lakh kilo litres, dealers said.

Petroleum dealers were agitated over the alleged failure of Haryana government in keeping the tax on diesel lower than that in neighbouring states for the “survival” of fuel pump owners.

They were demanding tax on diesel should be lower by 1-2 per cent than the rates prevailing in neighbouring states.

They claimed that uniformity in tax rate on diesel in northern states will hit the sale of diesel in Haryana, saying that 70 per cent of total sale of diesel is consumed by vehicles, including truck operators coming from other states.

Dealers have been demanding removal of 5 per cent surcharge on VAT and landing cost of crude oil at Panipat refinery from the state government.

Punjab and Haryana had raised VAT on diesel on July 16.

While the SAD-BJP led government hiked VAT on diesel to 13.4 per cent, the neighbouring BJP government in Haryana jacked up the tax to 16.4 per cent on the commodity.

After adding local levies like cess and surcharge, the effective rate of tax on diesel in Punjab and Haryana became 17.29 per cent and 17.22 per cent, respectively.

UT Chandigarh had also increased VAT on diesel from 9.68 per cent to 16.4 per cent.