IFFCO unit resumes operation as truckers lift strike

Paradip: Two days after shutting down its unit here due to strike and road blockade by truckers, the Indian Farmers Fertiliser Co-operative Limited (IFFCO) today resumed operation of its plant here following withdrawal of the transporters` stir.

"While the plant has resumed functioning in the wake of lifting of the road blockade by truckers, production is likely to restart tomorrow," a spokesman of the multi-unit cooperative society said. The Paradip plant had stopped operations on December 31 as it was unable to dispatch produced fertilisers and receive raw materials due to the shut-down and road blockade by the truckers since December 26.

"IFFCO authorities were compelled to stop operation of the plant. Around 45000 MTs of DAP had piled up as we were unable to dispatch. Raw materials, essential to run the unit, are also not reaching due to road blockade by the Truckers Association," a senior IFFCO official said. The Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) of Truck Owners Association, Paradip had asked IFFCO to engage only their trucks for dispatch of fertilisers within Odisha at the rates settled by them, he said.

The work of road transportation of fertilisers within Odisha is awarded by IFFCO through competitive bidding and the JCC is demanding more than double the existing rates of transportation of fertiliser. IFFCO finalises the transportation rates through competitive bidding by way of tendering process. Now, a large number of trucks are supplied by other truck associations. No commercial organisation can afford to accept such demands, a senior IFFCO official said. After several rounds of talks with administration, the JCC laid a siege and indulged in blockade of roads of IFFCO from December 26, stalling inward or outward movement of fertiliser and raw materials.

Due to blockade, storage of final products were full and raw material shortages are experienced, he said adding IFFCO incurred a loss of more than Rs one crore per day because of the blockade. However, with the truckers lifting their blockade and ending the strike on the night of December 31, IFFCO initiated steps for normal operation.