NAMAKKAL: THE Southern Region Bulk LPG Transport Owners Association (SRBLPGTOA) has decided to go on an indefinite strike from Monday in protest against the decision of three major petroleum companies to invite State-wise tenders instead of region-wise tenders for transporting LPG.
The decision to go on strike was taken at a meeting of the association here on Saturday which if materialised will likely affect the supply of cooking gas in a week.
The Namakkal-based SRBLPGTOA comprises of LPG transporters from Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and the Union Territory of Puducherry and represents owners of around 7,500 ‘bullet’ tankers.
These tankers transport LPG from the refineries of Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), Bharat Petroleum and Hindusthan Petroleum to bottling plants across the country.
The transportation charges are now fixed through tenders invited region-wise once in three years.
In June, 2017, the Central government had ordered the three petroleuom majors to call State-wise tenders for a period of five years (2017-2022). However, the order was cancelled the same month and the existing charges were extended till October 2017. As the tender was delayed further, the date was extended till April 30, 2018.
The SRBLPGTOA is opposing the State-wise tendering alleging that it would affect the transporters adversely and demanded continuation of the region-wise system.
While so, the oil companies recently announced a State-wise tender for the next five years (2018-2023). As per this, a tanker registered in one State can participate only in the tender for gas distribution only in that State and not in another State.
The companies have also announced the number of tankers needed for each of the five states and Puducherry. The application forms for participating in the tenders can be downloaded from the companies’ websites till March 9 and should be submitted before March 12.
After the general body meeting here, SRBLPGTOA president M Ponnambalam told mediapersons that they were strongly opposed to the new system as some conditions were harmful to the trade and without financial benefit.
“The tender conditions are objectionable and non-acceptable. We had requested the Centre to be reasonable and amend them in the interest of all stakeholders. We have made large investments in this trade and our livelihood is dependent on it. But the Centre is not ready to consider our demands and our situation. So, we have decided to go on indefinite strike till it removes the clause on state-wise tendering” he said.
Several other office-bearers of the SRBLPGTOA were present during the meeting.