Officials and truck employees at Indian Oil Corporation’s (IOC) plant, Udayamperoor, have locked horns over the officials’ decision to make fire extinguishers mandatory for trucks and bullet tankers to enter the plant. As per the measure, the fire extinguisher must be displayed in front of the vehicles that will be checked by security guards at the doorway. Sources at the plant said that the measure was taken to enhance the safety of the plant and the authorities had decided to monitor it strictly.
Sources added that the decision was taken after the authorities conducted a safety inspection at the plant last week. “As many as 250 trucks and around 50 bullet tankers are operating now. In a surprise inspection conducted last week, the authorities found that some trucks lacked fire extinguishers, some had defunct ones and in some they were hardly detectable. Such a violation of safety measures will adversely affect the rescue operations at the plant during emergency situations.
“The authorities imposed fire extinguishers in the front portion of the truck,” the sources said. However, the truck workers association said that they needed more time to adhere to the rule. They also alleged that while safety measures were being enforced on them, the authorities were yet to take the safety measures promised at the plant several years ago. “There is a lack of parking space at the plant. Now, we are forced to park the trucks and bullet tankers on the road leading to the plant. This increases the possibility of accidents. Though the authorities have initiated some steps to set up parking area at the plant last year, the project has not reached anywhere,” the association members said.
They also said that the authorities have turned a blind eye to their demand of a new one-way road, connecting the plant and the Mulanthuruthy road. “The new path can be used for exit and present path can be used for entry. This would have ensured the smooth flow of the bullet tankers and trucks. But the authorities have put the proposal in cold storage,” the members said.
They further said that they would stage protests in front of the plant if the authorities failed in taking the safety measures immediately. Any strike at the plant will affect the distribution of LPG cylinders in central Kerala.
The strike by the contract employees of IOC last year led to the temporary closure of the plant.It also had an impact on life of the people as the LPG cylinders were not available at the market during the strike.