PM asks Deora to take firm action against oil strike
With the country facing acute fuel shortage because of the strike by oil PSU officers, PM Manmohan Singh asked Petroleum Minister Murli Deora to take firm action to deal with the crisis.india Updated: Jan 09, 2009 15:17 IST
With the country facing acute fuel shortage because of the strike by oil PSU officers, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday asked Petroleum Minister Murli Deora to take firm action to deal with the crisis. "The minister of petroleum and natural gas and secretary have been instructed by the prime minister to take firm action," Home Minister P Chidambaram told reporters after a meeting of the Cabinet, which was briefed on the situation this morning.
Chidambaram, who has been asked by the prime minister to head a committee to resolve the grievances of the oil PSU officers, said the Centre has advised state governments to take firm action.
"Firm action is being taken and will be taken," he added. The Crisis Management Group headed by Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrasekhar took certain decisions to deal with the situation, he said.
"Those decisions have been communicated to the state governments as well as to other authorities and those decisions will be implemented," the home minister said without elaborating.
The home minister said the oil PSU officers should not "cripple" the economy and should be resorting to strike as the government has an open mind to address their grievances related to pay revisions.
While the strike entered the third day, with long queues at several petrol pumps, government was non-committal whether the situation could be brought under control immediately. "I cannot promise there will not be shortage anywhere but every effort is being made to handle the crisis," Chidambaram said.
He, however, said HPCL was functioning normally, while BPCL was working 70 per cent till this morning and is "likely to improve".
Chidambaram said officers of HPCL and largely of BPCL have realised that strike was not the way to go about pressing their demands.
He said he has been asked by the prime minister to look into their grievances.
"I wish to keep an open mind... My appeal to them is I am willing to hold the first meeting even today. They must come to meet me.
"They must call off their strike. They must recognise the intolerable burden they are placing on the people of India. If LPG is not available, how will families cook food for their children? If diesel is not available how will cars, buses run?" he said.