Motorists, passengers and businesspeople in Rajshahi, Rangpur and Khulna divisions suffered much as fuel refuelling station owners and employees along with tank lorry workers on Sunday went on a strike for an indefinite period to press their 15-point demands.
Two thousand refuelling stations in the divisions at a time stopped selling diesel, petrol and octane while lorry workers also kept their transports off the roads demanding payment of 7.5 per cent sales commission, introduction of accident insurance of Tk 5 lakh for tank lorry workers, an end to police harassment, and other demands.
Bangladesh Petrol Pump Owners’ Association and Tank Lorry Malik Shramik Oikya Parishad jointly called the strike as the government did not pay heed to their demands since their ultimatum ended on November 30.
Due to the strike fuel transport, distribution and sell came to halt bringing sufferings to commoners and the businesses.
The associations on November 26 said they would go for strike if their demands were not met by November 30, said Bangladesh Petrol Pump Owners’ Association senior vice-president MA Momin Dulal.
Power, energy and mineral resources secretary invited the association leaders to a meeting on December 15 but they rejected the proposal, said Dulal. ‘The strike will continue until our demands are met,’ he added.
Sazzadul Karim Kabul, president of Fuel Distributors Association, said they had been pressing for meeting their 15-point demands including fixing sales commission at 7.5 per cent, giving proper identity of fuel traders, and repealing the provision of having license from the department of environment. ‘The government did not meet the demands although it assured it,’ he added.
New Age correspondent in Rangpur said the owners associations of fillings stations and tank-lorries in Rangpur division began indefinite strike on Sunday morning.
Many of the tank- lorries were seen off the roads in eight districts.
Rangpur District Petrol Pump Owners Association general secretary Mostafa Sohorab Chowdhury Titu said as part of the central committee’s decision they were enforcing the indefinite strike.
New Age Bogura correspondent reported at least 50 filling stations remained closed since morning causing sufferings to the people. Vehicular movement in the town and on highway remain suspended.
Several hundred motor vehicles were seen going back without fuel as filling stations in Bogura were not selling fuels.
Businessman Abdur Rahman, a resident of Phulgazi in Bogura said he headed for Natore but failed as the filling stations did not sell fuel. ‘I was not aware of such strike and was forced to cancel my journey,’ he said.
New Age correspondent in Khulna reported all the 298 filling stations of Padma, Meghna and Jamuna oil companies in the division suspended fuel selling as the tanker and lorry workers also suspended transporting fuel.
The supply of fuel oil remained suspended in Rajshahi, Naogaon, Natore, and Chapainawabganj districts since Sunday morning due to the strike, New Age Rajshahi University correspondent reports from Rajshahi.
Filling station owners and workers started refraining from supplying fuel oil since 6:00am on Sunday, causing immense suffering to the people and transport workers.
Rafiqul Pramanik, president of Natore district Petrol Pump Owner Association, said they would continue strike until the central committee issues any other directives.
A few numbers of vehicles were seen plying on city roads. People had to face immense suffering as most of the city buses gradually eased their trips due to the oil shortage.
Kafil Hossain, a passenger, alleged trips of city buses were very insignificant and the bus drivers were demanding extra fare.
New Age correspondent in Jashore adds: owners of motorised vehicles had to suffer as 74 fuel stations did not sell fuels to subscribers on Sunday.
Hosne Ara Dishad, principal of an English medium school in Jashore, said she failed to buy petrol for her car due to the strike. Like her many other vehicle owners had to suffer as the filling stations stopped selling fuels.
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