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Petro supply not hit by oil PSUs strike
March 25, 2003 14:48 IST
Workers of Bharat Petroleum Corporation and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation went on a three-day strike on Tuesday across the country protesting the privatisation of the two oil majors but supply of petroleum products and work at refineries remained unaffected.
The strike call has been given by Oil Sector Officers' Association.
"Refineries are functioning normal and consumer supplies are continuing," petroleum secretary B K Chaturvedi told PTI in New Delhi.
Petrol, diesel, aviation turbine fuel and LPG supplies throughout the country continued to be normal even as a section of employees stayed away from work.
OSOA president Ashok Singh said from Mumbai that the employees are boycotting work but the officers are not participating in the strike due to rulings by Mumbai and Delhi high courts against the agitation.
Petroleum Minister Ram Naik said the government has made elaborate arrangements to ensure no disruption in supplies.
Chaturvedi said three units of Territorial Army have been requisitioned to ensure functioning of refineries, pipelines and LPG bottling plants.
Besides, the unions themselves have exempted essential services from the strike, he said adding the two companies, which feed 40 per cent of the Indian market, had yesterday topped up tanks at all customer points, depots and terminals that would provide supplies for at least 48 hours.
Naik said employees of BPCL and HPCL should abide by the high court rulings. "Oil sector unions are responsible unions and they will ensure that consumers are not impacted in anyway," he said.
Reliance Petroleum's Jamnagar refinery and Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals have been asked to ramp up their production to bridge any shortfalls in supplies of petroleum products that may occur due to the strike, Chaturvedi said.
Stating that there would be no disruption in supplies, he said Indian Oil Corporation has been put on stand-by to meet any deficit at any petrol station or LPG agency operated by HPCL and BPCL.
"We have detailed plans to feed each and every retail outlet," he said.
OSOA, a representative body of public sector oil firms, said it was opposed to the government's policy of privatising cash rich PSUs like HPCL and BPCL.
Control rooms have been set up at HPCL and BPCL headquarters in Mumbai to monitor the developing situation and take emergency course of action wherever necessary.
BPCL and HPCL own a refinery each in Mumbai, which feed most part of the western India. HPCL also has a refinery at Vizag while BPCL operates the Kochi refinery, both of which cater to southern region, official sources said.
In case of shortage, MRPL would bridge any deficit in the south while Jamnagar along with IOC's Koyali refinery in Gujarat would take care of supplies in west, they said.
Interestingly, the entire northern India is fed by IOC's Panipat and Mathura refineries. Even petrol stations operated by HPCL and BPCL sell product from IOC refinery. East is fed by IOC's Haldia and Barauni refineries.
The state-owned oil companies have a swap arrangement between them where refineries in the region supply product to all retail outlets in the area.
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