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Union threatens non-cooperation

Dibrugarh, Feb. 14: The Assam Petroleum Mazdoor Union set a February 18 deadline for the “departments concerned” to arrest the killers of the driver of an oil tanker and his helper in Sivasagar district recently.

The union threatened to launch a non-cooperation movement, including a ban on the loading and unloading of petroleum products. It also demanded proper compensation for the victims and an escort system for the oil/gas tankers and LPG cylinder-carrying trucks.

“If the departments concerned do not take up the matter seriously by February 18, the union would boycott all operations related to petroleum products,” said union president Ranjan Chowdhury.

On February 10, the driver of an oil tanker, Sanjay Thapa, 28, and his helper were killed and their bodies dumped near a bridge over river Disang on NH 37, under Demow police station. The tanker, carrying 20,000 litres of diesel with market value of about Rs 11.17 lakh, was on its way from Tinsukia to Imphal.

The union demanded fulfilment of its long-pending demands of providing mandatory insurance benefit of Rs 8 lakh to drivers and Rs 5 lakh to helpers of oil and gas-carrying vehicles.

Chowdhury expressed concern over the rampant illegal business joints run by criminals from Tinsukia to Dergaon along NH 37 and the questionable role of the police.

Referring to the attacks on the petroleum workers by anti-social elements, Chowdhury said there have been persistent attacks but the administration and police departments are not bothered.