Tanker strike to go total on Oct 5

Petrol pumps in the state could go dry and flights might be grounded from October 5, with tanker lorry owners and drivers threatening an indefinite strike against alleged harassment by motor vehicles department staff following the Chala fire mishap.

The decision was taken at a meeting of tanker lorry owners’ association and various drivers’ unions affiliated to CITU, INTUC and BMS here on Thursday.

The movement of bulk LPG is already affected with drivers refusing to operate inter-state services.
The agitation from October 5 will halt the movement of petroleum products originating from Kochi Refinery.

Apart from LPG, petrol and diesel distribution, the strike could hit flight services as also road repair works due to disruption in the transport of aviation turbine fuel (ATF) and materials like tar and bitumen.

MVD had stepped up vigil against tanker lorries, imposing stricter conditions on them like three-day classes for drivers on traffic laws and safety norms before renewing their licences, apart from strict implementation of the ‘two-driver and one assistant’ norm for such vehicles.

Earlier, one day’s class was enough for renewal of licences. MVD also started insisting on Xth Standard pass and three-language proficiency for issuing fresh licences.

The coordination committee also demanded an end to the existing ban on daytime drive, removal of unscientific dividers, and installation of sodium vapour lamps in places where there are no streetlights, apart from repair of damaged roads.

HC for bulk transport of LPG via rail

Kerala high court on Thursday backed the call that transport of LPG be carried out through tankers on rail, and not through road, so as to avoid risk factors.

The court directed the state to hold discussions with Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) for laying railway tracks to the existing LPG bottling units or shifting the units to areas where bulk loads could be taken through rail.

A division bench comprising Justice C N Ramachandran Nair and Justice B P Ray passed the order. The court would hear the case after two months.

The court observed that the best solution for bulk transport of hazardous and explosive materials like LPG in bulk would be through rail in view of the recurring accidents involving tanker lorries.

If the railway line could be provided without much cost to the existing bottling units, a shifting should be avoided, it said.

The court also opined that the state should consider granting compensations to the mishap victims on a war footing.

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