Guwahati, Jul 25 (PTI) The North-East Packed LPG Transporter Association (NEPLTA) has called for an indefinite strike starting Monday, protesting against several issues, including the latest tender floated by Indian Oil Corporation.
The association, which transports cylinders from bottling plants to dealers, has voiced opposition against floating of the new tender at a lower amount than 2011 rates and non-refund of toll charges, among other issues.
"The IOC authority cancelled the previous tender for carrying LPG cylinders as per direction of the Union Petroleum Ministry. Thereafter, IOC invited us at various places to find out ways to remove suspicion in the minds of existing transporters," NEPLTA president Niranjan Mahanta told PTI.
The contracts with the transporters were renewed in 2015 at the rates of the 2011 tender and all vehicles were still plying as per the seven-year-old tender, he claimed.
"The new tender asked us to file bids at even five per cent lower than the 2011 amount. How is that possible when inflation has soared like anything in the last 11 years?" Mahanta said.
He also said the company had assured of refunding all the amount charged in toll gates across the northeast, and pay the sum deducted for calculating lower distance between two places, but nothing has been done so far.
"Last year, we had a discussion with the top officials of IOC in presence of the Union Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Rameshwar Teli. They had promised not to float a new tender until all our pending dues were cleared. However, a fresh tender has been floated and our dues are still pending," Mahanta said.
He also alleged that as per a new clause in the tender, contracts will be signed with those bidders who offer a greater number of vehicles for transporting packed cylinders.
"This is just a ploy to deprive local transporters because we are small players with limited number of trucks,” the NEPLTA chief said.
Considering all these factors, a resolution of non-cooperation has been passed at the NEPLTA executive meeting, and an indefinite strike called from Monday at all the bottling plants of IOC in the northeast, he said.
When contacted, IOC in a statement said: "We received a notice last Friday and have intimidated the Food & Supplies Department, Government of Assam.
"We have requested deputy commissioners and local police of respective districts for ensuring law and order so that distributor tank trucks (TTs) are not hindered from going inside plants."
NEPLTA operates around 3,000 trucks to transport LPG cylinders from IOC's bottling plants to various distributors across the northeast, Mahanta said.
IndianOil-AOD, IOC's northeast division, has an installed capacity to bottle 5.23 crore LPG cylinders every year at its nine operational plants. Capacity utilisation stood at 5.11 crore units. PTI TR