GUWAHATI, Aug 17 - The Assam Petroleum Mazdoor Union (APMU) today announced an indefinite statewide strike from August 27 against an illegal syndicate that has surfaced at the Digboi marketing terminal in the past few months.
APMU general secretary Ramen Das said they decided to carry out the strike due to the lackadaisical attitude of the State government against the syndicate even after several approaches from the union side.
�Some people collect money from oil tankers coming to Digboi terminal for loading. Around 150 oil tankers are loaded in a day. So the gang collects lakhs of rupees per month. We had informed the district administration and the State government about the syndicate, but no action has been taken,� Das said.
On June 21, APWU wrote to the State Chief Secretary urging immediate intervention into the matter.
�Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (Assam Oil Division) Digboi, in the pretext of some strategic reasons, has shifted the marketing terminal from Tinsukia to Digboi. The marketing terminal is operating without completion of its construction and sufficient CISF personnel. As a result, some miscreants have started harassing the tanker drivers and extracting huge amounts of money from them during every trip. The miscreants have started a parallel administration in front of the terminal,� said the letter submitted to the Chief Secretary�s office.
The letter said the situation at the Digboi terminal was deteriorating day by day due to inaction of the district administration as well as IOCL, and the unions apprehend that at any moment a serious incident may occur.
�These miscreants has already set up their own security zone around the Digboi terminal and are controlling the movement of petroleum products,� it said.
The APMU alleged that Chief Secretary TY Das did not pay attention to the letter, and even after several approaches, she has not invited the union members to discuss the matter.
�There will be a crisis of petroleum products in the North East due to our strike. But we are helpless. We have taken our final decision due to inaction of the State government for many days. So during the protest, the State government will be responsible for any kind of situation,� Das said.
The APMU said it had also demanded halting of operations at the Digboi terminal until the construction work is completed. The general secretary said they had demanded proper security, lighting and a rest house for tanker drivers and a secured parking area in the terminal, but none has been fulfilled by the authorities.