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Tankers Threaten Strike From October 1

IMPHAL, Sep 26: Unhappy over the failure of Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) Limited to revise transportation charge of lifting petrol and other petroleum products, the transporters have threatened to go on a cease work strike with effect from October 1. The crisis over shortage of petroleum products in the State on account of massive landslides along National Highway 39 and deplorable condition of National Highway 53 is likely to be aggravated if the transporters go ahead with their agitation plan.

According to a reliable source, under a transport contract agreement, the oil tankers of IOC Limited at Imphal started lifting petroleum products in August 2007 after floating a tender. As per the agreement, the initial contract is for a period of two years but it is extendable by one year. After completion of the initial two years contract period since August 2007, one more year has been extended and the extended period is due to expire on September 30.

However, the transportation charge being provided by the IOC Limited based on the agreement signed in 2007 is becoming incompatible in the light of increase in maintenance and operation cost, sky-rocketing prices of commodities and deplorable condition of the National Highways. With the extended one year contract period due to expire soon, IOC Limited had issued tender notification for selecting new transporters in October last. But the tender process is yet to be completed.

As the transportation charge provided under the contract agreement signed in 2007 is not compatible in Manipur context any more, a high level meeting attended by a central team which came to Manipur for inspection and discussed the matter with the Chief Minister. The meeting agreed that IOC Limited should review the transportation charge being provided to the transporters and while the review is underway, the Govt should extend a sum of Rs 5,000 for paying Rs 35,360 as transportation charge to the transporters for lifting petrol oil from Ramnagar to Imphal and Rs 30,940 for lifting from Jiribam to Imphal. Unfortunately, IOC Limited has not yet acted on the agreement of the meeting attended by high level central team.

Unhappy over this, All Manipur Petroleum Products Transporters’ Association has written to the Regional Manager of North East Integrated State Office,  IOC at Guwahati making it clear that transporters would stop lifting petroleum products from October 1 as the contract agreement is due to expire on Sept 30 and transportation charge being provided is not compatible. Reminders have also been sent in this regard on September 20 and 24 respectively. But no response has been received so far.

As the IOC Limited has not revised the transportation charge and the tender process for selecting new transporters has not yet been finalized, the aggrieved transporters have decided to stop lifting petroleum products, the source added.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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