Petrol pump and tank-lorry owners threaten indefinite strike from 30 Oct
“Petrol pumps and tank-lorry operations will remain off until the demands are met,” Convenor of the Unity Council Mohammad Nazmul Haque said at a press conference at Purbani Hotel in the city on Wednesday, One of the main demands of the council is cancellation of new ‘abnormal’ land lease charge imposed by the Roads and Highways Department (RHD) for the use of its land by petrol pump owners for the operation of their pumps.
Earlier the petrol pump and tank-lorry owners and workers observed a 9-hour token strike to press home their demands on 28 August.
The demands include re-fixation of commissions on the sale of petroleum, increasing the tank-lorry fares, introducing Tk 5-lakh accident-insurance coverage for tank-lorry workers, re-fixation of evaporation and operation loss at reasonable level, giving priority to tank-lorries at the ferry terminals, banning the sale of petroleum fuel by private refiners to petrol pumps to check the fuel adulteration or allowing them under necessary legal framework.
Construction of new terminals for tank-lories in new locations and renovation of old terminals, reviewing the existing policy for petrol pump set-up, and stopping police harassment on tank-lorry operation are also among the 12 demands.
About the main demand for cancellation of new ‘abnormal’ land lease charge Nazmul Haque said the land lease charge has been raised in an abnormal ratio.
“Currently, we pay between Tk 27,000 and Tk 44,000 annually for a road-side land to operate our pumps. But once the new lease fee comes into effective, we will have to pay even over taka one crore annually,” he told reporters.
He said the new rate of land lease will be totally unaffordable which forced them to go for strike as the government does not pay heed to their demands.
He informed that the Unity Council leaders had a meeting with State Minister for Power and Energy Nasrul Haque on 20 September but the meeting ended inconclusively.
“Now, we don’t have any option other than going for non-stop strike,” Nazmul Haque said.
He also sought prime minister’s intervention into the matter.
Unity Council leaders Aktar Hossain, Md Shahjahan, and Mizanur Rahman were also present at the press conference.