Amid COVID19 pandemic, people of Guwahati are going to face a major problem from Monday — indefinite closure of petrol pumps.

Members of the Greater Guwahati Unit of Northeast India Petroleum Dealers Association on Friday announced indefinite closure of all petrol pumps in Greater Guwahati in protest against harassment by oil companies.

The petrol pumps will remain closed from 5 am of September 7 in Greater Guwahati.

“During these testing times when the government and even the Courts have made relaxation owing to the community spread of the pandemic, we regret inform you that the Oil Companies have continued to harass Dealers on various issues,” a statement issued by the association, said.

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The petroleum dealers association said Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) has been harassing of Dealer Member Ellora Debi, proprietor of RRND Service Station at Beltola in Guwahati.

“Time and again BPCL is forcing her to sign the Dealership Agreement. They even threatened so stop supply of petrol and diesel if she fails to sign the agreement by August 31,” the association complained.

By writing several letters to the Manager (Sales) of BPCL, Ellora Debi had prayed for extension of time due to the pandemic. But, no extension was given to the dealer.

Under pressure, Ellora Debi had to go court to draft the agreement. As a result, she got COVID19 positive. Subsequently, her husband, who is a heart patient, also contracted COVID infection.

At present, Ellora Debi and her husband are undergoing treatment in hospital. In the meantime, BPCL has stopped supply of petrol and diesel to the dealer.

Considering the seriousness of the issue, the dealers association had also requested the Deputy Commissioner of Kamrup Metro to intervene.

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The petroleum dealers association said they have been doing yeomen service by ensuring supply of petrol and diesel during the pandemic.

“We have been working risking the lives of our workers, including their family members amid the pandemic,” they said, adding that harassment of the members in such emergency situation is uncalled for.

The petroleum dealers association claimed that they have also been facing huge financial loss since mid-March because of COVID19 pandemic, and harassment of their members has pushed them to the walls.

The association said Ellora Debi has been successfully operating her retail outset as a dealer of BPCL for a period of 25 years.

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