CNG operators on indefinite strike: Expect less autos, longer queues at filling stations

CNG operators on indefinite strike: Expect less autos, longer queues at filling stations
Representational Image. Courtesy: Siddhesh Kamte

The compressor operators at CNG stations across the city have called for an indefinite strike from today to press for their demands.

According to a source close to the development, the operators called for the strike early morning today, without any prior notice. The strike will affect CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) stations co-located with petrol pumps.

The operators, affiliated with Bhartiya Kamgar Sena, had presented their demands to authorities earlier, but to no avail. One of their primary demands is a permanent hike in salaries of compressor operators.

With no respite in sight, the union called for an indefinite strike from today, December 20.

Subsequently, natural gas distribution company, Mahanagar Gas Limited, notified the Commissioner of police and local police stations about the strike to ensure that a law and order situation does not arise due to the last minute notification.

In the interim, Mahanagar Gas will continue to provide CNG to motorists via its own outlets on a 24-hour basis. But since motorists need to fill CNG frequently owing to the relatively lower storage capacity, long queues are expected at all their outlets.

Mahanagar Gas has also written to oil marketing companies like BPCL and requested their co-operation till the situation is brought under control.

Mumbai Metropolitan Region has almost 200 CNG filling stations and 5 lakh vehicles using the gas as fuel, including rickshaws, taxis and BEST buses.

As a result, the strike will also impact those using taxis and autos for their daily commute.

Moreover, since taxis and autos have to compulsorily run on CNG in Mumbai, less number of vehicles might ply on the road if the strike continues for a few more days.

Update: An official statement from Mahanagar Gas read, “A group of anti social elements has since morning of 20th December 2016 forcibly stopped operations of nearly 90 CNG stations spread across Mumbai. MGL was able to start operations of nearly 50 CNG stations through its internal resources and police help. However, the group of anti social elements is continuously intimidating MGL employees from operating the station. This has led to disruption of dispensation of CNG to customers.”

According to AL Quadros, the leader of the biggest taxi union in the city, at least 25 percent of taxis stayed off the roads on Tuesday. As for rickshaws, around 30 percent were not plying.

BEST buses were not affected as Mahanagar Gas sent alternate staffers to operate their CNG stations.

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