Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Odisha is most likely to face a severe fuel crisis as opposing the new punishment rule for the drivers under the provision of the Indian Justice Code (Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita), the Odisha Motor Transportation Workers’ Association has called for a strike in the State which will continue from Monday.

President of the Association, Janardan Pati informed about their planned strike in a presser on Sunday.  As part of the strike, the workers of the association will stop loading petrol and diesel from oil depots.

Ahead of the strike, General Secretary of Utkal Petroleum Dealers’ Association, Sanjay Lath predicted a scarcity of fuel across the State due to the strike from either Monday evening or Tuesday morning.

“The stock of oil has already been reduced at several petrol pumps due to the strike by the drivers. However, only 25 to 30 per cent oil has been loaded as the strike was called off. If the Odisha Motor Transportation Workers’ Association goes with its strike, there will be a severe scarcity of fuel across Odisha as the supply will be severely affected. The government should take necessary steps to normalize oil supply in the State,” said Lath.

Truck & bus owners’ bodies oppose strike 

The associations of the bus and truck owners have strongly opposed the strike called by the Odisha Motor Transportation Workers’ Association tomorrow.

Treasurer of the State Bus Owners’ Association Barada Prasanna Acharya said that the State Bus Owners' Association will not support the bandh call given by the motor transporters while trucks and buses will operate as usual.  

“Our association has urged the district administrations to ensure that bus service across the state is not hampered by the strike, and to take steps to ward off untoward incidents,” Acharya said.

“We oppose the strike because passengers have not been intimated 36 hours in advance. The demands are genuine, but passengers will suffer, “ he added, saying that drunk drivers will be removed from duty and strict checking will be carried out at Baramunda bus terminal from January 15.

Similarly, Rabi Satpathy, general secretary of the State Truck Owners’ Association, said that the association has decided to not support the strike keeping the sufferings of passengers in mind.