Modi's banners on Ujjwala
A file image of the poster of Narendra Modi promoting the Ujjwala Yojana|
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Dealers claim OMCs telling them to put up hoardings promoting govt schemes bearing Modi’s photo. OMCs deny the charge, say move only to promote schemes.

New Delhi: Petroleum dealers across the country are up in arms as government-owned oil marketing companies (OMCs) have allegedly threatened to stop supply in case they didn’t put up hoardings promoting government schemes with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s photo.

But OMCs denied the allegation saying no one has threatened to choke supply.

The Consortium of Indian Petroleum Dealers (CIPD) told ThePrint that in the garb of promoting government social schemes, including Pradhan Mantri Ujwala Yojana, the NDA government and the OMCs are seeking to use petrol pumps as a mouthpiece for the Centre.

Some dealers said that OMCs are often part owners of these pumps and are well within their right to make this move, but this trend doesn’t augur well as it’s being done unilaterally.

Also read: Narendra Modi’s 2019 headache will come from within the BJP and the NDA coalition

‘His photograph automatically comes up’

A senior official of the Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOC), however, denied any such move.

“No OMC has threatened to choke supply as the dealers are alleging. Also, the fact that many are saying that the petrol pumps are being used to promote Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s photographs is incorrect,” said the official who spoke on condition of anonymity

“What we are doing is promoting the schemes. Now many of the schemes have been initiated by this government and therefore have his photograph. So, while promoting the schemes, his photograph automatically comes up. There is nothing more to it,” said the official.

Furnish details

Meanwhile, the OMCs have also sought personal data of the 10 lakh employees engaged with these pumps. In early June, the dealers were sent a notice by these OMCs asking them to furnish details of their employees including their religion, caste, community, Aadhaar and permanent account number.

“We have refused to provide details of the employees as this is not legal and is a breach of contractual obligations, we have also sought time to meet the OMCs but we have not been given any time. This is undemocratic and one sided way of operation,” said CIPD general secretary Suresh Kumar.

Kumar added that the OMCs have sought the personal details of the employees saying that they needed to profile them for skill development, but the data can be used for many other reasons which may not be safe.

Also read: All the options BJP is exploring to hold assembly elections along with Lok Sabha 2019

A senior official of a government-owned OMC said that there was no cause for any alarm. The details are required for database as in any other area, added the official.

At present there are about 59,000 petrol pumps across the country.

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