SUBHAS DOUSES OIL STRIKE FIRE 

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By OUR BUREAU in Calcutta
  • Published 23.02.01
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Calcutta, Feb. 23 :    Calcutta, Feb. 23:  The "indefinite" strike called by the West Bengal Petroleum Dealers Association from Friday morning ended at 2.30 pm. "Following our protest and the intervention of the state government, the Bharat Petroleum authorities have been compelled to revoke the suspension of Fuel Point, at Kasba... As the oil companies have also promised to look into the demands of petroleum dealers, the strike has been withdrawn," announced Joydeb Sarkar, honorary general secretary, WBPDA. But Bharat Petroleum later clarified that if the dealer failed to submit a "satisfactory explanation" about the "stock variation", appropriate action would be taken against him. For Calcuttans who woke up to a flash strike on Friday, trying to fill up the car proved nightmarish. From the morning, vehicles of every kind started queuing up outside the HP pump on the intersection of AJC Bose and Shakespeare Sarani. The rush for fuel caused massive traffic snarls, forcing office-goers to seek alternative routes, and the police to cordon off the area. Around 1 pm, transport minister Subhas Chakraborty chaired a meeting attended by oil company representatives and petrol dealers. According to Kalyan Bhadra, president, WBPDA, the minister urged dealers to withdraw the strike "in view of the Madhyamik examinations from Monday", and "requested" Bharat Petroleum to allow the disputed pump to resume services. Chakraborty asked director of consumer goods N.C. Majumdar to monitor the inquiry into the pump's oil quality. Later, he directed the food department to submit a report on the "quality of oil at city pumps" within a fortnight.