With strike by employees of the North East Packed LPG Transporters’ Association entering its fifth day on Thursday, an LPG crisis is looming over the North East.
A report published in the The Telegraph stated that the workers are protesting from September 9 last against the reduction in the profit margin of 20 per cent at revised terms during the tendering process by Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL).
The report further quoted Jayanta Kumar Nath, working president of the association, as saying, “We will continue with our protest till IOCL rolls back its decision. The Assam Government is least bothered about our demands. The distributor under the IOCL has only 55 trucks which is grossly inadequate to distribute LPGs in the entire North East.”
“We have nearly 25,000 to 30,000 customers under our agency,” said the owner of a gas agency at Lachit Nagar. The worried owner further stated, “The customers will be harassed and we are answerable to them. We ferry nearly 612 cylinders in two trucks and usually pay them for two trucks in advance. After the protest started, not a single truck has arrived in the past five days. We are worried.”
Nath informed that altogether they have 2,200 trucks under the association across the North East of which 30 trucks operate in Guwahati every day. “All these trucks are now grounded in support of our movement,” he said. He further stated that a number of memorandums have been submitted to various authorities, including the Assam Government. “It seems that they don’t need us now,” Nath fumed.
The association is also protesting against the alleged shifting of operation of IOCL from Guwahati to Kolkata. “IOCL is trying to shift all the offices to Kolkata now. We protested two years ago against this step. We extend our moral support to the association,” said Bhaskar Gogoi, general secretary of the North East Oil Tankers’ Association.
A source in the IOCL in Guwahati said, “Discussions between the representatives of the striking association members and IOCL authorities are still going on.”