People get a breather as BPCL resumes work!

Published: January 9, 2009 - 17:48 Updated: January 13, 2009 - 15:07

People get a breather as BPCL resumes work!
By: Samarth Pathak
With BPCL officials agreeing to end strike and resume work from Friday evening, a wave of relief and cheer has spread across India. While Hindustan Petroleum was functioning normally, a major fuel crisis had enveloped the nation as the 50000 strong Oil Sector Officers Association (OSOA) went on a strike demanding higher wages.

But with BPCL resuming services, it seems that things will return to normalcy by Saturday. This was announced by the marketing director of BPCL  S Radhakrishnan, who stated, "By Friday 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." The other oil companies are expected to follow suit.

But even though indications are that oil companies would return to work soon, the OSOA has not ended the strike officially as yet. Reports are that the petroleum minister Murli Prasad Deora has called in the territorial army to help with the transportation of oil. There is no indication yet on when the strike would be called off. The strike has caused pandemonium amongst people across the nation. For nearly 48 hours, India ran on empty. Fears of a major fuel crisis loomed large as many petrol pumps across the nation shut down, causing life in the cities to a virtual standstill. Hardnews learnt that most pumps ran out of stock within hours, as motorists stood for hours in long queues awaiting their turn for a refill. Expectedly, all of them ordered for a "full tank", as talks between oil PSU's and Deora failed in the first round.

The strike also caused a major electricity shortage, as power plants ran out of fuel. In Delhi, the Pragati power plant completely shut down, while the Indraprastha power generation company ran on just two of its units. This caused a shortage of nearly 350 Mw of electricity in the capital. NTPC power plants, run by gas, were also severely affected by the fuel shortage as ONGC cut services.