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Ceasework at Digboi over e-tenders

Jorhat, Sept. 11: Production at Digboi Refinery in Tinsukia district was affected with the Digboi IOC Contractors’ Association calling a ceasework in protest against a move by the Indian Oil Corporation Ltd’s (IOCL) Assam Oil division authorities to implement the e-tender notification of the Central Vigilance Commission.

Tinsukia deputy commissioner S.S. Meenakshi Sundaram told The Telegraph over phone that so far the association, comprising nearly 40-odd contractors, were in charge of all contracts of the refinery for the last two to three decades.

They were opposed tooth and nail to the CVC directive of calling for e-tenders for projects of Rs 10 lakh and above.

This directive had been sent to all PSUs in the country, calling for more transparency while awarding contracts.

Sundaram added that more than 1,000 people were working in the refinery and other installations of IOCL in Digboi as contractual workers supplied by the association.

They were recruited as contract workers and the association had barred them from going to work, affecting work to some extent.

The refinery work is on with a skeletal staff.

A tripartite meeting of the district administration, IOCL officials and the contractors was under way till late in the evening to resolve the impasse.

The non-cooperation by the association began yesterday with workers coming to work wearing black badges.

The association had been protesting against the e-tender since September 4.

“If the association does not allow the e-tender process to take place then action will be taken against them according to the law. No person or cartel has the right to monopolies contracts and dictate terms,” Sundaram said.

He added that the Oil India Ltd, with its headquarters at Duliajan, also faced a similar situation but had managed to convince the registered contractors’ group there to allow e-tendering for contracts of Rs 25 lakh and above.

However, the contractors here were not willing to concede to the Rs 25-lakh slab.

R. Kalita, DGM, human resources, IOCL, Digboi, said nearly 1,200 people were under contract and that although the oil refining work had not been affected, all supply work through tankers and trucks could not take place today.

“If the strike continues for another day then all work will be affected,” he said.