IndianOil scrambles to relieve Manipur blockade

Vol 20, PW 11 (23 Feb 17) People & Policy

IndianOil is stepping up efforts to increase fuel supplies to remote Manipur as it reels from an economic blockade called by activists from neighbouring Nagaland.

Under pressure from Shastri Bhawan, a snap tender on February 22 will add 92 tankers to an existing fleet of 558 that before the blockade traveled on national highway two (NH-2) from IndianOil's depot at Tinsukia in upper Assam to Manipur state capital Imphal, passing through Nagaland. But since the blockade road travel to Manipur is facing severe disruption, forcing IndianOil to switch its fuel supply route to the more perilous and pot-holed NH-37 from Guwahati, site of its 1m t/y refinery, a return journey of four days.

Local transporters were told of the tender for the rolling three-month tanker contracts on February 10. IndianOil's swift response follows an impassioned letter plus follow-up phone call by Manipur state chief secretary O.

Nabakishore Singh to IOC chairman B. Ashok in the first week of February calling for urgent action to relieve the situation that has seen petrol prices in Manipur double from Rs69/litre to Rs150/litre and diesel rise from Rs57/litre to Rs120/litre.

Singh's request for a minimum 15-day fuel supply back-up was copied to oil ministry additional secretary Ajay Prakash Sawhney, his IAS batchmate. Activists from the United Naga Council are protesting the creation of seven new Manipur districts they say will impact ethnic Nagas in the state.