Agitating truckers want thorough audit of oil companies (Lead)

January 8th, 2009 - 7:47 pm ICT by IANS  

Ramalinga RajuNew Delhi, Jan 8 (IANS) Accusing oil companies of committing a Satyam Computers-like financial fraud, striking truckers Thursday demanded “thorough audit” of the oil firms and asked the government to issue a white paper on the matter.”The government should come up with a white paper and there should be a thorough audit and investigation into the accounts of the oil companies. Such an investigation will expose the fraud committed by them and that would be similar to the fraud committed by Satyam Computers,” Charan Singh Lohara, president of the All Indian Motor Transport Congress, told IANS.

Satyam Computers chairman B. Ramalinga Raju Wednesday resigned from the post after confessing to a Rs.70 billion (Rs.7,000 crore/$1.4 billion) fraud that had been going on for years.

A white paper is an authoritative report issued by governments that often addresses particular problems and how to solve them.

The transporters, who started a nationwide strike Monday, are dissatisfied with the diesel price cut of Rs.2, announced by the government last month. They demand the government lower diesel and tyre prices.

“There is a lot of scope for the government to reduce prices of diesel as the global crude oil prices have fallen to 2004 levels. The cut in diesel prices does not match the huge decline in global crude oil prices,” Lohara said.

He said the government has given maximum relief to airline operators. “They get fuel less than the market price. But we, despite being the lifeline of the country, pay the market price. The government does not want to reduce the price of diesel even after the crude oil prices dipped drastically,” he added.

Meanwhile, states like Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat have used Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) to deal with the four-day-old strike, even as traders said the agitation has hit supplies of essential commodities.

Brahm Yadav, chairman of the Delhi Agriculture Marketing Board, said prices of several commodities, which have already risen on account of the strike, could shoot up further if it continued.

Over 70 percent of freight in India moves by road, and the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO), the apex body of exporters’ organisations across the country, has said the country would lose about Rs.10 billion daily due to the stir.

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