Amid fervent protests in Assam over the Citizenship Amendment Act, PSU major Oil India Limited (OIL) issued an appeal to the people of the state on Saturday to allow it to carry out day-to-day operations, which the firm said have been “severely impacted”.
The appeal issued in leading English daily of the state, the Assam Tribune, cautioned that the “total disruption of OIL”s operational activities will adversely impact the economy of the State and the lives of the common people”.
Besides loss of production of crude oil and natural gas, the stoppage of OIL”s operations has badly hit production of LPG and supply of crude oil to refineries and consumers of natural gas like BVFCL, BCPL, NEEPCO, AGCL and APL among others, it said.
Assam has been facing a shortage of fuel supply due to the ongoing protests which have also affected the daily lives of people in Guwahati and several other districts of the state.
On Friday, long queues were seen at the petrol pumps that were functioning, while others remained shut.
“I saw many petrol pumps that were operating today did not have enough fuel to sell. I purchased 1L for my bike, while many others had queued up with bottles to buy fuel,” said Tutu Ali, a resident of Hatigaon area here.
The situation may worsen if the fuel stock is not replenished.
“The ongoing agitation in the state has severely impacted day-to-day operations of Oil India Limited,” the crude oil major said.
“This will have an adverse impact on the power situation in the state as well as lead to shortage of essential items like LPG, which will impact the common people the most,” it added.
“In the greater interest of the people of the state and the local economy, Oil India Limited makes an ardent appeal to the people of Assam to allow OIL to carry on with the day-to-day operations so that the company can ensure uninterrupted supply of crude oil, LPG and natural gas to the various industries based in Assam,” the appeal said.
This is also to ensure that these industries in turn help the common people to have uninterrupted supply of essential amenities like LPG, electricity, petrol, diesel, kerosene and fertilisers, it added.
The OIL, in its appeal, also said that it appreciates the present situation and the sentiments of the people.
The curfew, imposed in Guwahati and Dibrugarh town amid violent protests against the amended Citizenship Act, was relaxed on Saturday for a few hours, officials said.
The curfew was relaxed in Guwahati from 9 am to 4 pm and in Dibrugarh from 8 am to 2 pm, they said.
Assam and other north-eastern states might face fuel supply issues if the agitation against the Citizenship Amendment Act continues for another week, as it has already led to shutdown of refineries, petrochemical plant and oil-producing facilities in the region.
Indian Oil Corp (IOC) has been forced to shut down its Digboi refinery in Assam and is operating its Guwahati unit at minimal throughput, while OIL has been forced to shut LPG production and its crude oil production has dropped by 15-20 per cent, multiple sources at the state-owned companies said.
Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) has seen up to 25 per cent drop in production, and gas supplies to Brahmaputra Cracker and Polymer Ltd were snapped, leading to shutting down of Assam gas cracker project.