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Armed men loot petrol station

Durgapur, Dec. 6: Six armed men stormed into a petrol pump in the heart of this industrial town, kept the employees at gunpoint and looted Rs 2.64 lakh in cash from the safe before fleeing in the wee hours today.

This is the fifth petrol pump heist in the Durgapur-Asansol area in the past two months.

Employees at the petrol pump, 180 km from Calcutta, rang the alarm after the dacoits scaled the boundary wall while escaping.

However, no policeman responded to the call, though the city centre police outpost is a stone’s throw away.

Policemen were later found dozing at the outpost.

Pump owner Biswadip Roy Choudhury, who is also a state committee member of the West Bengal Petroleum Dealers’ Association, said pump owners were feeling insecure following the increase in dacoities in the region.

“The police could have easily nabbed the gang if they responded promptly. The dacoits tore off the telephone lines but my employees switched on the alarm to alert the police but they did not bother,” he added.

In protest against a spurt in petrol pump dacoities, owners will keep their shops closed from dawn to dusk in Durgapur and Asansol sub-divisions on Wednesday, association convenor Tarun Saha said in Durgapur.

Burdwan police superintendent K.C. Meena, said the police are planning new arrangements to check petrol pump robberies. “I will hold a meeting with senior police officials to discuss the issue. It appears that a particular gang is operating in the area,” he said.

After breaking in to the pump, the gang armed with improvised guns and daggers four of them entered the counter while two others stood on vigil outside. Before starting the operation, they also tied up the security guard on duty. Two employees sleeping inside the sales counter tried to resist but the miscreants threatened them with revolvers.

After the dacoits fled, the employees switched on the alarm bell to alert the police but after waiting for sometime they went to the outpost found the policemen dozing. They had to run to a nearby petrol pump –open for 24 hours --- to make a phone call to the police station.

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