Government to get tough with petroleum strike

January 9th, 2009 - 3:56 pm ICT by ANI  

Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, Jan 9 (ANI): The Government today said that it would deploy central forces to ensure that supply lines are not dried due to the ongoing strike.
The government also asked the striking PSU executives to withdraw their strike. They have struck work nationwide since Wednesday, demanding hike in their pay and perquisites.
The matter was discussed in the cabinet meeting where the situation rising following the strike was reviewed.
Petroleum Secretary R S Pandey told reporters the Government would deploy central forces wherever necessary. The striking employees cannot hold the country to ransom.
He added that 40 per cent BPCL employees have resumed work.
Petroleum Minister Murli Deora met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and briefed him about the matter.
Earlier, the meeting which took place between top officials of the oil companies and Deora in the early hours of morning was inconclusive as oil companies refused to step back on their demands.
“The talks have been inconclusive. The talks are going to take place further as well. There is no assurance. Only discussions are going on,” said Amit Kumar, President, Oil Sector Officers” Association.
As the strike entered its third day, its effects began to show in the serpentine queues at the petrol pumps across New Delhi.
Petrol pumps ran dry as frenzied people thronged the petrol pumps to get their vehicles filled.
”Dry Day” read the headline of one of the leading dailies, while photographs of petrol pumps showing signs of ”No Supply” and ”Out of Stock” flashed across the others.
For Delhiites, it was a nightmare as they stood outside the petrol pumps since wee hours of the morning.
“I”m coming from the airport, and was unable to get petrol anywhere on the way. I”ve been trying to get fuel since yesterday night,” said Pankaj Choudhary, a commuter.
The news of the strike continuing had created panic amongst the people since Thursday. Those who could not get fuel on Thursday, stood in queues since early hours on Friday to get their vehicles filled.
“I was in queue since seven in the evening and was able to get diesel worth only 200 rupees. My home is around 80 kilometers away from here and the fuel will not hold out for long. Now today again, I”m in queue since six in the morning, but I am still waiting for my turn,” said Rajan Singh, another commuter.
There were others also for whom the long wait at the petrol pumps proved quite nightmarish.
“My younger brother’’s wife is very ill and we have to take her to hospital. It is an emergency, but instead we are standing here in queue for petrol,” said Jeevanlal, a resident.
About two-third of the 425 petrol pumps in New Delhi did not open because of lack of stocks and the few who did soon ran dry.
State-run firms dominate the country’’s energy sector, controlling almost the entire supply of transport fuels, natural gas and domestic crude oil. (ANI)

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