Southern Regional Bulk LPG Transport Owners’ Association (SRBLTQ) has launched an indefinite strike on Monday to protest against the Centre’s revised tender rules for hiring LPG tankers.
Demanding the continuation of an existing rule that the regional level tender for fixing the hire charges for LPG tankers, tanker owners have stayed off from roads on Monday. In January, revising the existing rules which were being practised for the last 30 years, the Centre floated a new rule that now state-level tenders.
SRBLTQ, in its recent general body meeting, which was held at Namakkal on February 10, had raised its voice for the restoration of the 30 years old rule which was revised by the Centre. The association which comprises of tanker owners from Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, and Puducherry, also pointed out that the new rule would result in a huge financial loss to the tanker owners.
As per the revised tender rule, the tanker owners are limited to their respective states for the tender process which curtails their interstate operations. However, SRBLTQ had urged the oil companies to stick on the old system of floating tenders.
Meanwhile, the oil companies such as Indian Oil, Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum, which were following zone wise tenders, i.e., South India, North India, Central India and West India, floated tenders on January 23 for five years from September 2018 to August 2023 under the revised rule. So, the tanker owners were forced to apply for the same online, and the tenders will get finalized on March 12.
“Preference would be given to 21-tonne capacity tankers of the respective States while fixing the tender. In Tamil Nadu, only 20% of the fleet of 7,500 tankers was of 21-tonne capacity. The rest was 18-tonne capacity and owners of these vehicles were likely to lose out. As many of them have taken loans for the tankers, they would be hit hard,” SRBLTQ president M. Ponnambalam said after the general body meeting.
“As the new system would affect the livelihood of a large number of tanker owners, the association decided to launch an indefinite strike,” he added.