NAMAKKAL:With a view to resolving the issue of the LPG tankers strike, the State government has called for a tripartite talks in the presence of the Commissioner for Civil Supplies in Chennai at 3 pm on Monday.
Representatives of the tanker operators union and the oil majors will sit across the table to arrive at an amicable settlement. “We have been informed by the Namakkal Collector of the talks to be held in Chennai on Monday. The negotiation is arranged by the state government,” N R Karthick, secretary of SRBLPGTOA said.
Meanwhile, the strike by tanker operators raised the fear that the supply of cooking gas might take a hit in a day or two as the bottling plants are running out of stock.
Demanding a better rental package from the oil marketing firms, the bulk LPG tanker operators called for an indefinite strike from Friday midnight. They accused the oil companies of highhanded approach in finalising the tender rate for a period of three years starting from Nov 2014. Since the beginning of the indefinite strike, the transport of LPG was crippled in the southern region. “No tanker was operated since Friday midnight. All the 3,225 tankers operating in the zone have been off the road,” said Karthick. He said the operators were left with no option but to indulge in the stir as the oil majors failed to resolve the issue of determination of the rentals despite holding three rounds of talks last month.
Explaining the factors that caused the strike, a senior office-bearer of SRBLPGTOA said the oil firms were trying to coerce the operators to agree to the rate offered by them like it was done in other zones. “The operators in West, East and the North Zones succumbed to the pressure of the oil majors and agreed to the rate offered by them. But we cannot do so because the operating costs, maintenance charge and the road toll in our zone vary from others,” he said.
According to the office-bearer, the bone of contention was finalising the rate within a range of Rs 2.79 and Rs 3.09 per km. “Earlier, the oil marketing firms offered a band with a minimum rate of Rs 2.79 per km and maximum of Rs 3.09 per km. But, now, they are pressuring us agree to a rate below the band,” he said.