The Assam Petroleum Mazdoor Union (APMU) today began an indefinite state-wide strike in protest against the alleged extortion of huge sums of money from tankers by antisocial elements in upper Assam.
“No loading was done at the Betkuchi, Noonmati, Ramnagar, Misamari, Lumding and Bongaigaon terminals in the State. Local administrations have put pressure on our members to load the tankers, but we did not relent,” a statement from the union said.
The union alleged that Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) officials are playing into the hands of the nascent oil syndicate in upper Assam and have threatened to blacklist the tankers which participate in the strike.
“Despite several representations to the government, no action has been taken against the oil syndicate. They continue to extort money from the tanker drivers,” the union alleged, cautioning that the strike may lead to a fuel crisis in the region from tomorrow.
APMU general secretary Ramen Das said there has been no response from the government till late in the evening and the strike will continue.
Digboi ANN Service adds: The agitation by oil workers turned violent as picketers caused damage to three oil tankers at Golai near the IOC terminal and at Tingrai.
According to union member Ajay Dutta, the picketers broke the glasses of two oil tankers at Golai while another at Tingrai after the drivers were found defying the strike call.
However, police rejected the reports of violence.