CHENNAI: The Minjur Police on Wednesday arrested six bulk LPG tanker drivers for indulging in vandalism after a group broke windshields of five trucks, as the truckers strike at Indian Oil Petronas Pvt Ltd (IPPL) in Athipattu entered the fourth day.
While the truckers are refusing to withdraw their strike till their demands are met, Centre of Indian Trade Unions officials claimed that the strike is likely to end soon, in the light of one of the key demands - to bring them under insurance cover - having been met.
As many as 600 drivers are on strike since Sunday night demanding `10 lakh compensation for a driver, who succumbed to injuries, after he was attacked at Challapalli on Vishakapatnam-Chennai highway on December 15.
Earlier in the day, about 40 of them were detained as a preventive measure to prevent any untoward incidents, police said.
“We had secured about 40 of them for unlawful gathering and detained them as a preventive measure to avoid violence. Yet, a few of them managed to break windshields of the trucks, creating a ruckus,” a senior police officer with Tiruvallur district police told Express.
Athipattu unit secretary of Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) S Selvaraj alleged that drivers, who were having food in nearby hotels, were detained around noon.
“They have been taken into custody on charges of vandalising tankers. But, none of us were involved in any such act as the striking drivers were not allowed to stay near the plant on Tuesday night,” he claimed.
Alleging that untrained drivers are being pressed into service for transporting LPG trucks, he said it was fraught with danger.
Later in the day, Minjur police arrested P Santhanamoorthy (29), S Manikandan (32), B Baskar (39), B Poovannan (30), N Selvakumar (33) and S Madasamy (33). “They all were booked under sections 2 and 3 of the Tamil Nadu Public property damages Act and remanded in judicial custody,” Minjur Sub Inspector Chandrasekar told Express.
When contacted, U V Mannur, Executive Director, Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (TN and Puducherry) denied the allegation of the trade union, saying several striking drivers have returned to work. “Around 50 loaded LPG tanker trucks have left IPPL till 3.30 pm,” he said.