Cooking gas (LPG) dealers on Monday threatened to go on an indefinite strike from January 19 unless oil companies stop appointing new distributors.
The Federation of LPG Distributors of India said its members will "stop the sale of all products other than domestic cylinders from January 15 and if our demands are not addressed we will be going on an indefinite strike from January 19."
The dealers wants the government to cancel an advertisement issued by state-owned oil companies for the appointment of new distributors all over the country.
It claimed the move was "based on anti-poor and pro-rich policies benefitting only the creamy layer of society and advertised arbitrarily without complying with the directions/approvals given by the Petroleum Ministry."
Indian Oil Corp (IOC) and other state fuel retailers have advertised for 3,465 new LPG distributors to increase penetration of the environmentally friendly fuel.
"The oil marketing companies have increased the reservation of the open category at the cost of SC/ST and OBC in most of the states, which is in gross violation with the reservation policy approved by the government," the Federation said in a statement.
Stating that claims by the retailers that new regular distributorships were being announced only after making all existing distributors viable was "false and fabricated," the Federation said the average refill sale of distributors in most states has not crossed 6,600.
The Federation said 1,500 regular distributorships advertised previously are already in the pipeline, along with 5,000 Rajiv Gandhi Gramin LPG Vitaran Yojana (RGGLVY) proposed as per the 2015 marketing plan in rural areas.
According to the Federation, the oil marketing companies advertised for 3,465 more new regular LPG distributors without conducting a feasibility study, contradicting their philosophy of restructuring to make all existing distributors viable.