Syndicate in Upper Assam, Oil workers to go on indefinite strike from today

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The petroleum syndicate has returned back to haunt the BJP government as despite tall promised, it has returned with vengeance forcing the petroleum tankers to go on strike from today against the illegal money collection per truck.

The Assam Petroleum Mazdoor Union (APMU) will launch an indefinite state-wide strike from today in protest against the alleged extortion of huge sums of money from oil tankers by antisocial elements in upper Assam and the “inaction” of the government to stop the menace.

“All arrangements have been made for the strike. The agitation may lead to a fuel crisis across the region,” the union functionaries said.

Meanwhile, the president of the upper Assam branch of the union, Ranjan Chowdhury had written a letter to the DGP alleging that there is a threat to his life. He said that if any untoward incident occurs, Digboi BJP MLA Suren Phukan would be responsible for it.

“The MLA and some antisocial elements under the banner of Golai Association have started complaining against me, using undemocratic, unparliamentary and vulgar words in various media. I fear my life is under threat,” Chowdhury stated, seeking security for himself and his family.

After the Indian Oil Corporation (Assam Oil Division) shifted its marketing terminal from Sripuria in Tinsukia to Golai in Digboi, a syndicate has been allegedly collecting huge amount of money from the oil truckers. Around 150 tankers are loaded at the new terminal daily.

The IOC had also written a letter to the Assam Police complaining about the extortion. “…there are reports that some anti-social elements camping near the terminal are extracting (read collecting) huge amount of money from drivers of tank trucks during every trip on the pretext of offering safety gadgets,” the IOC letter to the Tinsukia SP stated, requesting his intervention to resolve the “deteriorating law and order problem”.

The IOC also said that “miscreants and unscrupulous elements” were preventing entry of contractual employees into the terminal and the oil company is finding it difficult to engage the workers.

Drivers say “officially” Rs 200 is collected from each tanker, but the amount may go up to Rs 500.

The APMU had moved the State Chief Secretary twice, but it says no action has been taken by the government so far.

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