IOC seeks exemption for LPG plant operations from strikes

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Public sector Indian Oil Corporation wants operations of LPG bottling plants to be included in the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) and has sought exemption for such facilities from strikes.

IOC had lost over 20 working days due to strikes in Kerala last year.

The company, which is the state-level coordinator for the oil industry in Kerala, wants the state government to include LPG bottling plant operations under the ESMA on the lines of milk, water and medical services, Murali Srinivasan, General Manager of IOC (Kerala office), told reporters here.

While the government has brought transportation and LPG supply under ESMA, plant operations had not been included, he said.

The plea comes at a time when IOC has decided to invest Rs 1,800 crore by 2016-17 in the state to augment capacity at its three bottling plants and setting up various facilities.

While the loss caused due to operations of its plants getting affected has not been quantified, 20 to 30 working days have been lost due to strikes, Srinivasan said.

He further said there is a need for unhindered movement of LPG during strikes as backlogs causes hardship both to the consumer and the company.

In Kerala, 60-70 per cent refills are re-booked within a week of getting the previous refills, he added.

The facility for refill booking through SMS/IVRS - presently available in Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Kozhikode - will be extended to all other districts, he said.

Srinivasan also said that District Collectors have been asked to fix fixed wages for labour in LPG industry and to avoid frequent strikes.

There was no waiting list for fresh connections and second cylinders, he added.

IOC has also asked the state government to provide land for a huge parking space between Mangalore to Kochi. By next year, trucks not having ABS shall be phased out, he added.

He said the revenue collected by the state government as tax last year from IOC stood at Rs 2,388 crore for 2013-14.

The five kg LPG cyliders for migrants, launched in Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram,

has had lukewarm response so far, A Pandian, General Manager Regional Service (Southern Region), said, adding it would soon be launched in Kozhikode.

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