By Our Staff Reporter
IMPHAL, Feb 10: Several petrol pumps have resolved to cease operation in a few days due to myriad problems they have been facing amid the violent conflict besieging Manipur since May 3 last year.
Some of the reasons which the retail outlets cited for taking the extreme decision were inability to purchase fresh stock of fuel and repay debt and EMI to oil companies and banks.
They also said that substantial monetary demands, abduction of their staff and intimidation to close the outlets have become unbearable to them and so decided to cease operation in a few days.
A joint meeting of all retail outlets operating in the valley districts of the State was held at Hotel Nirmala today and adopted a resolution to cease their daily operation given all the problems they have been enduring.
Speaking to the media after the meeting at Hotel Nirmala, a group of representatives of retail outlets said that about 70 per cent of retail outlets in Manipur run their business by taking loans from different banks.
Saying that the sale of petrol and diesel has declined by almost half as compared to the pre-violence days and thus paying EMI has become extremely difficult, they said that though oil companies allow them to procure fuel in debt they are not in the position to repay the amount.
They appealed to the Government to consider waiving off the loan interest and extend the period of loan repayment.
Continuing that they don't take excess money from the consumers, they added that they sell the fuel at the rate fixed by the Government.
Further stating that other businesses selling garments, construction materials and edibles don't incur loss as they can collect their expenditure from the consumers, they said that retail outlets, however, cannot sell the fuel at a higher price.
They further said that the retail outlets have also been making donations despite the financial crunch they have been facing in the interest of the people.
Saying that many groups came to them for assistance toward providing relief materials to the displaced people and they donate whatever they can, they said that some groups also make unbearable demands to them.
Even the staff of retail outlets have been abducted for not arranging the money they demand, they said and claimed that miscreants have also looted cash from retail outlets on two occasions.
They further claimed that miscreants often go away without paying anything to its attendants after refilling their vehicles to the full capacity and the same has become a common phenomenon.