Supplying oil products in bandit country

Vol 5, PW 15 (12 Sep 01) Midstream & Downstream

Have you ever wondered how Indian Oil carries on work in India's insurgency hit northeast Kidnappings, killings, forced shutdowns, death threats, blowing up of pipelines are commonplace in the region from a host of separatist organisations whose demands range from full independence from Delhi to limited autonomy.

Here is the answer culled from a reply on 14th August by oil minister Ram Naik to a parliamentary question. Problems faced by Indian Oil Remedial measures being taken Law and order problem in general in the entire northeast and in particular in the states of Tripura and Manipur Petroleum products are being sent in security convoys provided by state governments Frequent forced shutdowns by various insurgent groups Pre-emptive actions are being taken for providing supplies in advance Security threats at storage points Strict control measures are being taken at storage points in continuous consultation with district authorities Ransom/extortion threats to employees Particular cases brought to the notice of state/central government, or concerned employees transferred/given personal security on 'need' basis Insurgency apart, oil companies must also battle nature.

The mountainous, forested terrain of this region has poor quality road and rail services and is often cut off from the rest of India during monsoons when landslides block roads. But there are no plans to give up on the northeast.

Naik told parliament that LPG production in the northeast would increase from 174,000 tonnes during 2001-02 to about 265,000 tonnes during 2006-07. Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura make up the northeastern states.

All of them are affected by insurgency of varying degrees.