Amidst a storm over proposal to shut petrol pumps during night to taper fuel demand,Oil Minister M Veerappa Moily today said the government had not made any such proposal and the idea had come from public.
“It is not our idea. It is an idea which is coming from public and others. No decision has been taken to keep petrol pumps dry during any part of the day,” he told reporters.
His ministry plans to launch a massive fuel conservation drive from September 16 to cut fuel demand by 3 per cent and save an estimated Rs 16,000 crore or USD 2.5 billion in forex outgo.
“We are toying with the ideas (on conserving fuel) that have come to us. That doesn’t mean we have accepted them or are enforcing shutdowns,” he said.
Moily said before the planned launch of September 16 campaign,several proposals to save cut fuel consumptions have come to the government and as per usual practice are being mulled over by his ministry.
“It is incorrect to say that any decision on shutting petrol pumps has been taken,” he added.
Meanwhile,Prime Minister’s Office and Finance Ministry on Monday rejected the proposal to keep petrol pumps open only from 8 am to 8 pm to taper fuel demand as it looks at ways to cut the massive oil import bill.
On Sunday,Moily had said that the government was considering various proposals,including shutting petrol pumps from 8 a to 8 pm to taper fuel demand as it looks at ways to cut the massive oil import bill.
Reacting sharply,BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain had said,”What is petrol pump? The government will close the country… Won’t the people fill their car fuel tanks in the morning. This is a strange move by Moily”.
If the Manmohan Singh government has run out of ideas to tackle the economic mess,it can take suggestions from the BJP,he had said.
Oil Secretary Vivek Rae had also said there was no plan before the ministry to order petrol pumps in cities to remain shut from 8 pm to 8 am to curb demand for petrol and diesel.
Moily had written a detailed note to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on shaving off up to USD 20 billion out of the USD 144.293 billion oil import bill of 2012-13. The August 30 note does not talk of shutting petrol pumps in the night but details out conservation campaign as well as raising oil imports from Iran to cut import bill.
Moily said we are planning many austerity measures and urged people to save fuel.