The strike by the oil officers, which had raised the spectre of shortages and fuel rationing in the last three days seems to be coming to an end, much to the relief of industries, consumers and the government.
Officers from Bharat Petroleum and Oil India Ltd have conceded and resumed work, which is expected to ease supply shortfalls. Hindustan Petroleum officers had not joined the strike.
Fast moving Mumbai was badly affected with many BEST bus services being rationalised and a large number of taxis and rickshaws running out of CNG.
BPCL confirmed that the striking officers have started reporting for work. BPCL accounts for 25 per cent of the petro goods market in the country.
The public sector oil marketing company today said that fuel supplies to affected pumps had already started.
The strike had entered its third day today. At least 70 per cent of the fuel pumps in the country had run dry and the number was expected to rise steadily.
With the fuel shortage becoming a full blown crisis, the government told striking oil company officials to either resume work or face arrest, with 64 officials from ONGC already having been arrested.
The website of the oil officers union, www.astodelhi.com, which had been providing regular updates has been offline since early this morning.
In a media brief petroleum minister Murli Deora said that he ongoing "illegal" strike, running for the past two days, seems to be over.
According to petroleum secretary R S Pandey, the situation in the states all over India is as follows:
- The HPJ pipeline will soon resume functioning and Bombay Gas Supplies have been improving since last night. He added that the general situation at all petrol pumps in metros is considerably improving
- Out of 362 oil outlets of BPCL in four metros, some of them have resumed operation, and the situation is expected to improve further
- Out of 389 oil outlets of IOC, 62 are operational and loading has started in many places
- In Delhi, all HPCL pumps are operational while BPCL and IOC have 80 and 20 pumps operational respectively
- In Mumbai, BPCL has 90 and IOC has 10 operational pumps.
- In Kolkata, BPCL has 60 and IOC has 20 operational pumps.
- In Chennai, BPCL and IOC are returning to normalcy in their operation.
The position is also improving at Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL), Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and Gas Authority India Limited (GAIL). Services of the Territorial Army have been requisitioned wherever necessary.
The on-going strike by Oil Sector Officers Association has affected the supply of natural gas from Bombay High to Mahanagar Gas Limited (MGL). Consequently, MGL had to stop supplies yesterday to the industrial, commercial and CNG segments in a phased manner, to ensure supplies to the domestic consumers.
Today, ONGC agreed to supply some additional Natural Gas to MGL. This will enable MGL to sustain its domestic Piped Gas supply and also start operating few of its CNG stations.
Along with the enhanced supply of gas by ONGC, MGL will start its CNG stations in a progressive manner. Giving priority to public transport buses, MGL has commenced CNG supply at all BEST depots with CNG facility.
Other outlets will also be started progressively after reviewing the situation. Currently, 52 CNG outlets are operative.