GUWAHATI, Dec 5: The North East LPG cylinders of IOC went on flash protest for an indefinite period, affecting supply of the fuel to various sectors, officials said on Tuesday.
The packed LPG Transporter Association (NEPLTA) has cited pending dues and low rates in the recently floated tenders as reasons for the strike.
IndianOil – AOD, IOC’s Northeast division, produces 1.4 lakh LPG cylinders every day from its nine operational bottling plants across the region. Out of these, the flash strike has affected six plants located in Assam, having a combined output of 1.1 lakh cylinder per day, a senior company official told PTI.
“Because of this strike, supplies to Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Mizoram have been impacted. If the strike is not withdrawn immediately, shortage of cylinders will be felt by the end of this week,” he said.
IOC has appealed to the agitators to call off their protest as it is “detrimental” to the interests of the public.”The flash strike has affected essential supplies to consumers, hospitals, schools and industries, resulting in inconvenience to the public at large”.
It also urged the association to uphold national and state interest and to refrain from any action “detrimental” to the interests of consumers and avoid disruption of essential services in the state of Assam.
“Indian Oil is committed to address the concerns of all stakeholders and has invited NEPLTA to engage in cooperation and dialogue to resolve concerns, demands and issues amicably, ensuring the uninterrupted supply of essential goods and services,” it added.
IOC, it said, continues to prioritize the concerns of its customers and reiterates its commitment to collaborate with all stakeholders to ensure uninterrupted energy solutions across the country. The transporters are also demanding increase in the rates of the tenders which were floated in November.
“It is not a strike, but we have stopped plying our vehicles from Monday as some of our dues are pending since 2018. We request the company to release the amount immediately,” NEPLTA president Niranjan Mahanta told PTI.
“We are running our business at 2011 rates. It is simply impossible to operate the vehicles with such an old rate when prices of every item have increased many folds since then,” Mahanta claimed.
NEPLTA operates around 2,500 trucks to transport LPG cylinders from IOC’s bottling plants to various distributors across the northeast, he added.
Mahanta had earlier claimed that the contracts with the transporters were renewed in 2015 at the rate of 2011 tender and all vehicles were still plying as per the eight-year-old tender.
The IOC on the other hand said that the company has floated six public tenders for LPG transportations in Assam. “Similar public tenders for transportation of packed cylinders are being floated and smoothly finalized throughout the country without any hindrance,” it said in a statement.
In a letter written to the NEPLTA, the company has requested for “wholehearted participation” in the recently issued public tenders for transportation of LPG cylinders.
It urged 380 truck transporters under NEPLTA to call off the flash strike and appealed to it not to disrupt loading and delivery of cylinders from the six bottling plants across Assam.
The NEPLTA had held strikes in 2018, 2020 and 2022 over the same issue of renewal of contracts when the company had floated the tenders. It had moved court in 2018.
The company had withdrawn the renewal of the contracts and extended the existing ones. (PTI)