Meeting convened on Sunday could not find the solution

A shortage of cooking gas looms large over the State as the strike by the Southern Region Bulk LPG Transport Owners' Association enters the sixth day on Monday.

Transport owners are demanding higher payments for the movement of LPG in bullet tankers between New Mangalore and destinations in Kerala. A meeting convened by Tamil Nadu government in Chennai on Saturday did not see the end of the strike.

President of the transport owners' association M. Ponnambalam said that a general body meeting of the Association was being held in Namakkal on Monday morning to decide on the new rate offered by the oil marketing companies. The decision on the strike hinges on the outcome of the general body meeting, he said.

Supplies drying up

Meanwhile, a report from the bottling plants in Kerala is grim with supplies nearly drying up at the plants owned by the Indian Oil Corporation, the market leader in Kerala.

Indian Oil Corporation caters to 36.90 lakh customers (as in October 2010) in Kerala and the company represents more than 50 per cent of the total market size.

Bharat Petroleum Corporation has a total customer base of 20.48 lakh and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation has a total customer base of 10.99 lakh.

The three-year contract on rate of payment for the transporters expired in October last year. There has been no revision of the payments, said Mr. Ponnambalam, adding that the tanker owners had withdrawn the strike in January on an assurance that the rates would be revised by the end of February.

Around 150 bullet tankers reach Kerala daily to cater to the requirement of the bottling plants belonging to Indian Oil Corporation, Bharat Petroleum Corporation and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation.

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