The Telegraph
Wednesday , March 5 , 2014
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AASU strike hits OIL

- 300-hour agitation against ‘unfair’ recruitment drive

Jorhat, March 4: Operations of Oil India Ltd have been completely paralysed in Assam following a 300-hour strike called by the All Assam Students Union since March 1.

OIL, being the major gas supplier to thermal power projects and also the tea gardens, the development is set to have a cascading effect in the dismal power scenario and the tea industry.

“We have been able to supply only half the amount of gas required to North Eastern Electric Power Corporation Ltd, thermal projects and Assam Gas Company Ltd as activities in most of our installations have almost come to a standstill because of the agitation. If the situation continues, we will not be able to supply gas to any of these companies,” Oil India Ltd spokesperson Tridip Hazarika told The Telegraph today.

OIL supplies nearly 7 million standard cubic metres of gas to more than 350 tea gardens in the state through the Assam Gas Company Limited (AGCL), to Kathalguri project of Neepco and to Lakwa and Namrup thermal power projects of the Assam State Electricity Board.

However, the company was able to supply only 3.9 million standard cubic metres of gas today. The company, which has its major oil fields in Tinsukia, Dibrugarh and Sivasagar districts, has been incurring a loss of Rs 15 crore daily because of the agitation.

Baghjan, Berakuri, Makum, Halfjan, Digboi oil fields are the most important hydrocarbon reserves of OIL, which is the main supplier of gas in the region.

Hazarika said the worst fear of the company is the fact that many of these wells may not be able to be revived after sudden closure as most of these are over 25 to 30 years old. “Most of our installations are left unmanned as our men are not been able to travel because of the strike. This has also become a major security issue,” he cautioned.

AASU, supported by the Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuva Chhatra Parishad and the Assam Tea Tribes Students Association, has been protesting against the recent recruitment drive carried out by OIL for unskilled workers.

The students’ organisations alleged that the recruitment process to fill up 304 vacancies was not transparent.

Sarat Saikia, the general secretary of AASU’s Dibrugarh unit, said the recruitment process carried out by OIL to fill up the vacancies of 304 unskilled workers was not transparent and there are allegations of money been taken by a few OIL officers from the candidates.

“Most of the candidates who have been selected are from economically stable families and this only proves that many of these candidates have paid money for these posts. There are instances of some selected candidates who are either state government employees of employee of other companies. One selected candidate has already got a job in the ONGC,” the student leader alleged. He also alleged that several deserving candidates, who have brilliant academic careers, have not been selected. Saikia warned that unless the company selects the deserving candidates, the students’ organisation would not call off the agitation.

“We are ready for discussion, which should be held at the chairman-cum-managing director level,” he said.

The OIL spokesman, however, denied allegations of the selection process not being transparent.

“It was a two-year recruitment process and Dibrugarh University was entrusted with holding the written examination. There is no question of the process not being transparent,” he said.

He said the company has also taken into account the recruiting of local youths and almost all candidates are local.

“We have also given preference to all the communities residing near the OIL installations,” he said.

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