IMPHAL, April 22 � Most oil pumps in Imphal have gone dry following a strike by oil tanker drivers, forcing the public to buy petrol at Rs 90 per litre in the black market today.
The oil tanker drivers here decided not to take their wheels following the abduction of driver S Surjit Singh (42) of Sangakpham Bazar in Imphal by suspected militants near Kohima on his way to Imphal in a convoy of oil tankers under security escorts from Khatkhati in Assam on Sunday morning.
President, All Manipur Petroleum Tanker Drivers� Union (AMRTDU) Y Bhupendra Ghosh told reporters at the ISBT complex here that they will not take the wheels unless the authority takes steps to free the abducted driver. �This is not the first time that we are suffering from such instances�, he added.
On April 17, suspected hill- based militants shot dead a truck driver S Babu of Manipur after burning down his truck carrying rice along with a cement-laden truck on the Imphal-Jiribam highway.
Expressing unhappiness over the alleged irresponsible attitude of Inspector VP Singh of 78 battalion CRPF who escorted the oil tankers in Nagaland sector of the National Highway, the AMRTDU leader urged the government to provide secured highways to bring essential commodities to the State.
Though the motive behind the abduction is not known, security forces have reportedly recovered Surjit�s diesel loaded truck (MN 02 6268) in Nagaland, according to AMRTDU.
About 580 tankers bring in fuel for Manipur�s 2.7 million population through the blockade-ridden National Highways No 2 and 37.
Tanker drivers have also expressed unhappiness over the alleged collection of toll taxes at different rates by the Kohima Municipal Council.