A strike by tanker lorry workers at the depot of the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) at Feroke raised fears of an imminent fuel shortage and led to serpentine queues near many petrol bunks in the city and suburbs on Tuesday as vehicle owners gathered there for refuelling.

The long queues of vehicles lasted for many hours, causing traffic congestion in some places. The rush ended only after the strike was called off during the talks held in the presence of Additional District Magistrate (ADM) K.P. Remadevi in the evening on Tuesday. Fuel shortage was reported from petrol bunks in Koyilandy, Vadakara, Payyoli, and other places even on Monday night.

A round of talks called by the ADM on Monday night to settle the strike had failed. Trade unions had defended the strike saying lorries had to run an extra 60 km because of the diversion of traffic to facilitate maintenance work at the Chengottukavu railway overbridge.

The nearly 300 workers attached to tanker lorries at the IOC depot had gone on an indefinite strike to protest against diversion of traffic by the police to facilitate maintenance work at Chengottukavu railway overbridge.

Decision

On Tuesday, the workers called off the strike after it was agreed that a fixed number of tanker lorries would be allowed to operate through Atholi-Ulyeri-Koyilandi route from Feroke depot from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. It was agreed that the traffic police (rural) would be kept informed about the movement of these trucks and that the filling time at IOC plant at Feroke would be changed to 6 a.m. to 6.30 p.m.

INTUC leader Dineshkumar, K. Devarajan of CITU, P. Parameswaran of BMS, and IOC representatives T.P. Nair and Suresh S. attended the meeting during which the strike was called off.

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