MRPL accused of offering huge discounts to customers from neighbouring States

Protesting against the “behaviour” of Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemical Limited (MRPL), which allegedly is detrimental to the interests of transporters and contractors, members of the city unit of the Bulk Bitumin Transporters Association launched an indefinite dharna in front of the refinery here on Monday.

In a release, the association, which represents around 50 transporters working in Coastal Karnataka, said MRPL offered far more substantial discounts as well as more quantity of supply to customers from neighbouring states rather than local customers. This coupled with an irregular production schedule and “a tendency” not to inform of bitumen availability has resulted in more than 35,000 metric tons of bitumen being imported to cater local demands, the release said.

“Transporters of CRMB (Crumb Rubber Modified Bitumen) 55/60 grade from MRPL have incurred loss of more than Rs. 60 lakh due to product shortage,” claimed the Association, while demanding the company that processes bitumen for MRPL be blacklisted for “deliberately keeping the production down”.

The association said MRPL’s insistence on RTGS payment caused unnecessary delays in loading process.

Apart from solving these problems, the association also demanded basic amenities – toilets, drinking water, waiting area and cafeteria – for drivers who wait from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. during for the loading operations to finish, upgrading of present weigh bridge, and an end to ill-treatment of customers and drivers at the loading point.

The association threatened to carry on their dharna till their demands were met.

Reaction

MRPL officials admitted that discounts were lower for out-of-state contractors to “compete with the refineries there”. “In Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh there are local refineries. As the logistical costs increases for them, we have to provide bitumen at lower costs to compete with refineries there,” said an official, while adding that they did not see a gap in the supply and the local demand. The official said MRPL provide “adequate” facilities for drivers, and a calibrated weighbridge. “We do not have a truck terminal as MRPL is a wholesale producer and not a marketing company,” said the official.

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