TODAY -

Drivers begin steering off strike against attack on oil tankers
Source: Chronicle News Service

Imphal, April 20 2024: LPG and oil tanker drivers on Saturday staged a sit-in protest in front of Malom Oil Depot, condemning the recent attack on LPG and oil tankers near Keimai area along NH-37 (Imphal-Jiribam), which left two drivers injured and five tankers damaged.

The drivers also launched a steering wheel strike, demanding adequate security along the highway.

During the protest, the drivers demanded actionable ROP for the highways and not just on paper, compensation for the injured and affected drivers in Keimai incident, withdrawal of SoO with Kuki militants and issuing shoot at sight order, and enforcing ROP along the highway until adequate security forces are deployed and made it clear that they will continue the steering wheel strike in case of failing to do so.

On the other hand, a Co-ordination Committee for petroleum and Bulk LPG Drivers was formed on Saturday in connection with attack on oil tankers and gas bullet tankers on April 16 at Tolen village in Keimai area along the Imphal-Jiribam road.

The Committee also went on to submit a memorandum to the chief minister, while cautioning that the drivers will halt all services along the highway until their demands are fulfilled.

In this regard, All Manipur Petroleum Products Drivers' Association president Laishram Somen said that the April 16 gun attack has greatly affected the drivers and transporters alike.

He continued that during the protest on Saturday, various drivers and transporters' associations discussed the attack, security concerns and other issues faced by drivers while plying along the Imphal-Ji-ribam road and the steps to be taken to combat the same.

As such, a Co-ordination Committee for petroleum and Bulk LPG Drivers was formed during the meeting and a memorandum submitted to the CM, seeking shoot at sight order for security forces deployed on the road against any individual or group disturbing the movement of escort convoy.

Pointing out that the goods being transported along the highway are used or consumed by people of all the 35 different communities of the state, he remarked that obstruction of the same is an act of terrorism.

There is no reason for not taking any action against those obstructing the movement of goods laden trucks.

In addition, ensuring safe movement of security convoy, initiating disciplinary action against security personnel found dereliction their duty and awarding a job or paying Rs 15 lakh in compensation to those drivers permanently disabled, should be considered.

If anyone is unfortunately killed, Rs 40 lakh in compensation should be provided to the next of kin, Somen said.

Furthermore, the central government should come up with a solution with regard to unknown miscreants or organisations causing mayhem along the highways.

If the government accepts the demands of the drivers on humanitarian ground, the drivers will cease the protest and resume work, otherwise the protest will continue, he cautioned.

Meanwhile, around five drivers who helped bring their fellow injured driver while plugging the oil tankers damaged during the April 16 gun attack, to safer areas, were honoured with cash reward on Saturday.

Driver Bhim Thapa, who helped bring out the injured driver Tularam Magar and drivers Thangjam Chandrakumar Meitei, Laishram Naba, Ksh Arun, Elangbam Naocha and Ningthoujam Tondonba, were honoured by the Petroleum and LPG Drivers' Association, in a simple function held at Malom Oil Depot.

Speaking on the occasion, All Manipur Petroleum Product Transporters' Association president Ahongsangbam Tamphayai strongly condemned the Keimai incident and called against repeat of such acts.

He further stressed that we should remember the six courageous drivers who helped bring the injured drivers and affected tankers to safety.

He then urged drivers for cooperate in the event of facing similar incidents in the future.


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