Meghalaya to provide security to oil tankers after Assam transporters stop fuel supply
Shillong, Nov 24 (PTI) The Meghalaya government was arranging police protection for trucks transporting essential commodities and oil tankers that were coming from Assam, officials said on Thursday night.
In a letter to the deputy collectors of at least seven districts, Food and Civil Supplies director Pravin Bakshi directed for the arrangement of police escorts to such vehicles after the Assam Petroleum Mazdoor Union (APMU) announced that it has stopped transporting fuel to Meghalaya fearing violence.
"Necessary arrangements for patrolling/providing police escorts wherever possible may kindly be explored on all national highways to ensure smooth movement of vehicles carrying essential commodities," the letter stated.
Bakshi also directed the district authorities to ensure sufficient stock of fuel at all petrol pumps.
In the evening, hundreds of vehicles were seen waiting at the petrol pumps as people scrambled to fill up tanks fearing shortage. The queues of vehicles led to traffic snarls in Shillong and some other parts of the state.
Police officers were seen regulating the movement of vehicles at petrol pumps where motorists turned unruly while waiting for their turn.
The APMU sent letters to all PSU oil marketing companies, including IOC, HPCL and BPCL, informing them about its decision to not load fuel in tankers.
The union expressed concern over the safety of Assam vehicles in Meghalaya amid violence following the killing of six people at the inter-state border.
"Our drivers and handymen were attacked when there were disturbances in Meghalaya earlier. Some of them were critically injured. They have become handicapped for their whole lives. We cannot take any risk again," APMU general secretary Ramen Das told PTI.
He alleged that trucks supplying non-petroleum products were pelted with stones over the last two days.
"Therefore, we have decided not to take any load from today onwards until and unless the Meghalaya government assures us (of) the safety and security of T/T (tank trucks) crews," the letter stated.
The rush for fuel at the Meghalaya petrol pumps began after the letter started circulating on social media.
The Petrol Pump Dealers Association of Meghalaya also asked the state government to intervene to resolve the crisis.
Six people, including a forest guard, were killed in violence at a disputed area along the Assam-Meghalaya border on Tuesday, after a truck transporting illegally-felled timber was intercepted by forest personnel of Assam. PTI JOP TR SOM SOM