Fuel supply in Rajshahi, Khulna, and Rangpur divisions has come to a standstill as the petrol pump owners went on an indefinite strike to press home their 15-point demand.
The petrol pump owners began the strike on Sunday morning, as per the decision of Rajshahi, Rangpur, and Khulna Divisional Committees of Bangladesh Petrol Pump and Tank Lorry Malik-Sramik Oikya Parishad.
Around 26 petrol pumps in the Natore district of Rajshahi division were shut down due to the strike, causing severe problems for vehicle owners. For this reason, traffic movement on the roads has also declined, our Natore corresponded reported.
The shutdown of petrol pumps has led to a fuel crisis in Rangpur division. Inter-district supplies, and supply of fuel to buses that commute from Rangpur to Dhaka, have halted due to the strike.
Our Rajshahi correspondent reported that the petrol pumps were quite crowded on Saturday night, following the declaration of this strike.
Owner of Bengal Travels Khalid Ebadullah, who went to Rajshahi town Afrin Filling Station to get fuel oil, said the filling station has been thronged by people since morning because of the strike from Sunday.
Bangladesh Petrol Pump Owners’ Association Rajshahi Division General Secretary Rafikul Islam told Dhaka Tribune: “The protest initially began from Khulna division and gradually spread out to Rajshahi and Rangpur. Today, around 500 petrol pump owners of the latter two divisions joined the strike.
“If our demands are not met, drivers of CNG-run auto-rickshaws will also join us, and gradually it will become a nationwide protest.”
He claimed that they will continue demonstrating if their demands are not met.
Bangladesh Petrol Pump Owners’ Association Rangpur Division Vice President Abul Majed said: “We have insisted the government previously to raise the commission for selling fuel oil and increase the rent for tank lorries, but our demands were not carried out even after the government’s assurance.
“As a result, we were forced to call on this indefinite strike. We will not withdraw it until all our demands are met.”
On November 26, the association’s leaders gave an ultimatum of November 30 by which to fulfill their 15-point demand.
Their demands include payment of 7.5% commission for selling fuel, introduction of accident insurance of Tk5 lakh for tank lorry workers, increasing fare of tank lorry, stopping police harassment and extortion, and dismissing the order to collect licence for pumps from the Department of Environment.