The Southern Region Bulk LPG Transport Operators Association (SRBLPGTOA) has claimed that 10,000 tonnes of LPG got stranded at the eight loading points in the Southern Region – Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Pondicherry and Goa – on the first day of their indefinite strike that began on March 1.

Association Secretary N.R. Karthik told The Hindu on Friday that the value of the consignment was more than Rs. 40 crore while the loss incurred by the operators of the 3,564 bullet tankers transporting LPG from the loading points to the 52 bottling plants spread across the southern region was around Rs.2.5 crore a day.

Mr. Karthik rejected the charge that the association made an unrealistic demand for better transportation charges (per tonne per kilometre). He regretted that the oil companies had been rejecting the association's proposal to appoint a third party agency to analyse the situation and finalise the rates. “We have been demanding this since the first round of talks with the oil companies after the first strike from January 12 to 19 this year,” he added. The association has been demanding a transportation charge higher than the one the oil companies had agreed for the tanker operators in rest of the country.

This demand was not being met.

On the other hand, the southern region had been operating at a rate less than the other regions.

Mr. Karthik said that a 20-member delegation headed by association president M. Ponnambalam will take part in the talks in Chennai on Saturday.

Strike will go on

He made it clear that they were determined to continue the strike till the top management of the three oil marketing companies accepted in writing the demand for higher transportation charges and induction of 552 new tankers.