ONGC to sack 64 striking executives: Petroleum Secretary

Last Updated: Thursday, January 8, 2009 - 00:00

Sibsagar (Assam), Jan 08: Oil major ONGC`s four
officers of Assam Assets Department, including the Joint
Secretary of All India Officers Association, was on Thursday
suspended for joining the ongoing strike by the oil PSUs
officers demanding pay hike among other things.

ONGC`s Association for Scientific Technical Officers
(ASTO) Secretary Manoj Bhagawati said to news agency that including him three other officers of Assam Assets were placed under
suspension for participating in the nationwide strike since Wednesday.

ASTO President Gaurav Das said, "Three other suspended
officers are A K Barua, Diyajuddin Ahmed and Safaruddin
Ahmed."

"By arresting and suspending officers the government is
attempting to privatise the oil sector at a time when ONGC
produces for the government Rs 24,000 crore worth of oil. The
private players have come in due to the government`s New
Exploration Licencing Policy," Bhagawati asserted.

The multinationals successfully bidding for the oil
fields, divided into blocks, under NELP render the PSUs
incompetent before them with their advanced technology, he
alleged.

He also feared that the private companies would not
uphold the public sector undertakings` responsibilities of
corporate citizens.

Of a work ambiance that retains its engineers from
joining the private sector companies that pay much higher
salaries, he said.

"ONGC and Oil India Ltd are becoming training school for
the private players. Our engineers are lured away with higher
salaries and better work environment leaving oil PSUs without
proper staff," alleged Bhagawati, who is also the Joint
Secretary of ASTO Central Working Committee.

Condemning the arrest of two ONGC officers and suspension
of 17 others across the country for taking part in the strike,
Das asked the Centre and the Petroleum Ministry to come
forward for solving the problem oil PSUs currently facing
rather than punishing them.

He also feared that the private companies would not
uphold the public sector undertakings` responsibilities of
corporate citizenship.

Centre had formed a committee under Justice M J Rao to
look into the demands of the officers, but its recommendations
were not acceptable to OSOA, Das said.

The President of OSOA Assam Assets was also apprehensive
that if the government failed to resolve the problems of PSU
urgently and allowed the strike to continue, the oil sector
was likely to incur loses of hundreds of crores of rupees and
formation of wax in the crude oil supply pipelines.

A report from Dibrugarh district in upper Assam, where
the ONGC and Oil India Ltd oilfields are located, stated the
strike was continuing to hit normal functioning of the oil
sector.

Functioning of the Indian Oil Corporation Ltd`s refinery
at Digboi in Tinsukia district was disrupted on Thursday, while
supply from Tinsukia terminal to petrol pumps was shut down
and LPG production halted, the report said.

Critical oil and gas supplies by the OIL in the district
were, however, were continuing interrupted to the gas-based
North East Electric Power Corporation at Kathalguri, said a
source in the officers association.

Assam State Electricity Board`s Namrup station and Assam
Gas Company Ltd for providing domestic piped gas were also
receiving supplies as "we do not want to hold the people to
ransom".

The OIL and ONGC hospitals in the Assam Asset with
headquarters in Sibsagar district have been exempted from the
purview of the strike, he added.

In Jorhat district, where ONGC`s Assam and Assam Arakan
basin headquarters is located at Cinamara, oil drilling at
Borhula was paralysed since 6 am yesterday, official sources
said.

Work was at a standstill at five rigs around Sibsagar
town and another six at Galekey in Sibsagar district, eight in
Sarupathar and two others in Merapani of Golaghat district
remained idle.

OIL`s pumping stations were paralysed by the strike in
Jorhat and Jakhalabandha, the sources added.

Sources here were also fearing that petrol and diesel
supplies to petrol pumps in Guwahati could also dry up shortly
due to the strike.

Bureau Report



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