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Locals demand jobs at oil firm

File picture of an IOCL plant

Bhubaneswar, Nov. 28: People of five villages in Khurda district have urged chief minister Naveen Patnaik to ask the Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) to engage the local youths at its oil depot at Jatni on the outskirts of the city.

The villagers are mainly from Kusumati, Chhanaghara, Rathipur, Kantia and Jatni.

Indian Oil Corporation’s Jatni depot was commissioned in 1977. The depot caters to the need of petroleum products and the public distribution supply (PDS) of 10 districts including the state capital.

The villagers alleged that there was not a single recruitment despite their repeated pleas and a series of meetings of the district administration with the corporation’s senior officials. While the IOCL is doing a lot of work for the periphery development at their oil depots located in different parts of the country, the cause of the local people here has been ignored over the years, they said.

The IOCL has turned a deaf ear to the local development in the field of health, education, water supply, road communication, plantation, pollution control and safety measures, they alleged.

“Though we are always exposed to hazardous petroleum products, we are never being taken care off by stringent medical check up camps,” said a villager. Senior Congress leader Suresh Routray said: “IOCL must recruit local people and stop posting outside people at Jatni depot and it should expeditiously undertake peripheral development.”

The villagers threatened that if adequate steps were not taken within 45 days, they would resort to indefinite strike.

“The strike may affect the smooth supply of essential commodities to the public from the depot,” said Routray.

On the other hand, the Indian Oil officials said they were always sympathetic to the cause of the local people.