GUWAHATI: The Northeast is grappling with a sudden disruption in the supply of LPG cylinders after the North East Packed LPG Transporter Association (NEPLTA) initiated a flash protest for an indefinite period.
The association representing Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) LPG cylinder transporters in the region, called for the strike driven by concerns over pending dues and perceived low rates in recently floated tenders, on December 5.
IndianOil – AOD, the Northeast division of IOC, produces approximately 1.4 lakh LPG cylinders daily from its nine operational bottling plants in the region. However, the repercussions of ongoing flash strike has adversely affected operations Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, and Mizoram, with a potential shortage of cylinders looming by the end of the week if the strike persists.
The IOC has appealed to the protesting transporters to reconsider their actions, emphasising the detrimental impact on public interests. The company has also expressed its commitment to addressing the concerns of all stakeholders and has invited NEPLTA for cooperative dialogue to amicably resolve issues, ensuring an uninterrupted supply of essential goods and services.
The transporters, in addition to their demand for the settlement of pending dues, are seeking an increase in the rates of tenders floated in November.
NEPLTA President Niranjan Mahanta clarified to the press that the protest is not a strike but a suspension of vehicle operations since December 4 due to long-pending dues dating back to 2018.
Mahanta highlighted that the challenge of operating vehicles at rates established in 2011, while prices for various items have surged significantly since then.
NEPLTA operates around 2,500 trucks responsible for transporting LPG cylinders from IOC’s bottling plants to various distributors across the Northeast.
The association has raised concerns over contract renewal rates, asserting that contracts renewed in 2015 still operate based on rates from the 2011 tender.
IOC, on the other hand, contends that public tenders for LPG transportation in Assam have been smoothly finalised throughout the country without hindrance.
The company has written to NEPLTA, urging participation in recently issued public tenders for LPG cylinder transportation.
This isn’t the first time NEPLTA has resorted to protest; similar strikes occurred in 2018, 2020, and 2022 over contract renewal issues.