Bulk transporters' association to withdraw tankers until demands are met; consumers in 3 states to suffer
An ongoing withdrawal of service by the Western India Bulk LPG Transporters' Association is threatening cooking gas supply to households across Maharashtra, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. The pulling out of tankers by the owners began on Wednesday night.
Out of stock: Tanker owners are demanding higher payments for
transportation of LPG from refineries to gas agencies. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar
If the service is not started soon, the delivery period for replenishment will most likely go from two days to 10 days, increasing the backlog in the Western region. The indefinite withdrawal is due to the non-renewal of transportation contracts by oil companies that expired on October 31 last year, and the difficulty in operating the fleet due to rising overhead expenditures on old contract rates.
Bhushan Wadhwani, a committee member of the association, said, "We have withdrawn our services, as we have not been able to reach an amicable solution with the state-owned oil companies over the rates. It is not possible for us to continue with the old rates."
Wadhwani explained that until Oct 31, 2011 the oil companies were paying Rs 1.87/metric ton of LPG. However, after October they did not renew the contract but claimed to have increased the sum to Rs 2.17 per metric ton for the Western Region. "We are raising our concern after previous five meetings with them failed," said Wadhwani.
The association has also written a letter to the CM on March 21. Yesterday, over 3,400 tankers that transfer LPG from Bharat Petroleum, Hindustan Petroleum and Indian Oil Corporation refineries to the distribution stations were seen parked on the roads.
Dilip Singh, a tanker driver, said, "I got the token for filling on Wednesday evening, but I received a call from the owner stating that I should pull out."
Officials at the three oil companies remain tightlipped. A senior official at BPCL said, "We are closely monitoring the situation and are in dialogue with IOC and HP to find a solution. Also the number of tankers that are arriving for filling are being monitored to assess the situation. Appropriate decisions will be taken only after studying the impact of the withdrawal of service in coming days."