Fuel prices are on an all-time high, and this time round, customers are not the only one feeling the heat. Fuel dealers and petrol pump owners are also, reportedly having, are facing a loss in sales. However, some petrol pump owners in Madhya Pradesh have devised a rather quirky plan to attract sales. According to the plan, dealers will give away an automatic washing machine, air conditioner, laptop or a bike as prizes to lure in customers.
The reason for this is not just increased fuel prices. Actually, Madhya Pradesh has the highest VAT on petrol and diesel. As a result, fuel prices here are among the highest in India. With the difference in prices being high, truckers and commercial vehicles passing through MP prefer refueling from pumps across the border to save some cash.
With there being no sign whatsoever by the government to make any tax relaxations, these dealers have taken it upon themselves to maintain sales and profit.
A petrol pump owner who goes by the name of Anuj Khandelwal, says,
For purchase of 100 litres of diesel, a truck driver will get breakfast and tea for free. We are offering a mobile, a bicycle, or a wrist watch for 5,000 litres, an almirah, a sofa set or a 100 gm silver coin for 15,000 litres. On purchase of 25,000 litres of diesel customers can get an automatic washing machine, for 50,000 litres a split AC or a laptop and for one lakh litres we have offered a scooter or motorcycle.
All these tactics seem to have worked. The man stated that ever since the new offers have come into effect, drivers are purchasing 100 litres of petrol to avail the benefit of discounts. Another local pump operator, Manoj Arora, was reported as saying that more than 125 petrol pump owners in border districts like Shivpuri and Ashoknagar are struggling due to a price difference which is as much as Rs 5/ litre for diesel.
Madhya Pradesh currently imposes 22 per cent VAT on diesel and 27 per cent on petrol. Pump owners are now demanding the state government to reduce taxation so as to ease their losses. Among all this, however, customers for sure are getting some profit from the otherwise pocket-burning fuel prices.