LPG truck drivers' protest enters 5th day

The protest by hundreds of drivers and cleaners of bullet tankers transporting LPG in front of HPCL’s LPG-filling unit near Suratkal entered the fifth day on Saturday.

The protesters demand the arrest of the culprits who had beaten one of their colleagues to death in Andhra Pradesh and injured one of the cleaners. The stir is going on with the support of DYFI and CITU, since December 29. The protesters have also been demanding that the bullet tanker owners’ association pay a compensation of Rs 10 lakh to the family of the deceased Sharavanan and Rs five lakh to the family of Tangaraju.

Addressing a press meet, DYFI State president Muneer Katipalla said,, “In spite of the rule that bullet tankers transporting LPG to distant places should have two drivers and one cleaner, the rule has been flouted by the tanker owners. As per the agreement with the LPG tankers’ association and HPCL, the drivers must be paid Rs 38,000 per month. The drivers are paid only Rs 18,000 per month. Instead of one cleaner in each bullet tanker, there is one cleaner for four to five tankers.” He added that the bullet tanker drivers need security on job.

Protesters arrested
Katipalla said that 150 to 200 bullet tanker owners, who have arrived from Tamil Nadu, are using police power to suppress the protesters in Mangaluru. “The owners have brought substitute drivers from Tamil Nadu to transport LPG from the HPCL filling station.

When the bullet tankers were ready to transport LPG, the protesters waylaid the tankers and prevented from its transportation. The police, who rushed to the spot, arrested 49 persons, including 46 drivers,” he added.

DYFI Vice President B K Imthiyaz, leaders Naveen Konchadi, CITU leader Yogish Jeppinamogaru have also been arrested. The police have resorted to mild lathi charge on the protesters and removed the tent put up by the protesters at the venue.

No withdrawal
He said that there was no question of withdrawal of the protest till the demands are met. The district administration should intervene and solve the problem of the tanker drivers, he added.

One of the tanker drivers said, “We start our journey from filling stations at 6 am and drive till 10 pm. As there are restrictions on the movement of bullet tankers between 11 pm and 5.30 am, we stop at various places. The owners and oil companies should provide us truck terminal facilities at various locations to park the vehicles in the night.”

DYFI and CITU demanded immediate action to bring the accused who killed the driver in Andhra Pradesh to book and also suitable protection for the crew of tankers.
 

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