NEW DELHI: The situation seems to be nearing normalcy as employees of state-run explorer Oil India Ltd, Bharat Petroleum Corp, IOC and GAIL have
called off a three-day strike for better pay.
OIL and Bharat Petroleum Corp staff was the first to call of their strike. Indian Oil Corp and GAIL have ended their strike, Petroleum Minister Murli Deora said on Friday, effectively ending the three-day long protests that have hit fuel supplies.
"IOC and GAIL (employees) have called off the strike and it is not because of pressure by the government," Deora told reporters.
The industrial action by employees of state-run oil firms has crippled fuel supplies in many cities.
Bharat Petroleum Corp said it would resume fuel supplies at all locations starting this evening, as more than 70 per cent of the striking employees returned to work.
"Over 70 per cent of the people have resumed work in marketing. By this evening, we will be able to resume fuel supply at all locations.... To make up for the backlog we would work on Saturday and Sunday too," BPCL Director (Marketing) S Radhakrishnan said here.
BPCL accounts for 25 per cent of the petro goods market in the country, while HPCL accounts for 27 per cent and IOC the rest.
HPCL has been functioning normally throughout.
The government on Friday cracked down on the striking oil PSU executives, ordering arrests and calling the army to restore normal fuel supply that was thrown into disarray on the third day of the nationwide stir.
Government cracked the whip after Oil Minister Murli Deora briefed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the failure of talks with Oil Sector Officers Association (OSOA) last night, goading Bharat Petroleum, Oil India and Engineers India executives to return to work to avoid dismissal and arrests.
OSOA struck work on January 7 to press for higher wages, holding the country to ransom by stopping oil and gas output and disrupting fuel supplies that brought road traffic to a halt and delayed domestic and international flights.
About 12,000 petrol pumps of the largest fuel retailer, Indian Oil, and over 3,000 of BPCL are out of stock, leading to mile-long queues at HPCL outlets.
Mumbai ran out of compressed natural gas (CNG) that runs some two lakh buses, taxis and autos but Delhi had enough CNG and piped natural gas stocks to last 7 to 10 days.
However, with gas available from ONGC, as many as 138 CNG stations would be fully functional by tonight, Petroleum Secretary R S Pandey said.
Petrol, diesel supply situation will improve with BPCL executives calling off the strike and army taking dispatch and loading operations of IOC at Delhi.
"Tough is an understatement," Deora said, even as Pandey said that army has been called in and arrest orders are being issued against those who are not relenting.
Officers of ONGC and IOC continued to boycott work. IOC Chairman Sarthak Behuria said list of officers has been sent to district authorities with instruction for arrest if officers do not join duty by tomorrow.