There is no need to panic over the supply of petrol and diesel and all stakeholders should avoid spreading panic, Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma said today.
Discussions are ongoing between the government and North East Petroleum Mazdoor Union (NEPMU), which had threatened recently, for the second time in less than a month, to cut the state off from supply of fuel.
Last month, the union had threatened to strike after police arrested several members over alleged theft and/or adulteration of the fuel being delivered to the state. NEPMU, for its part, claimed that its personnel were being harassed by the Meghalaya police. After talks between NEPMU and the state government, the threatened halt in supply was called off before it began.
On Monday, however, NEPMU was at it again, saying that it will halt the transportation of fuel to Meghalaya unless those who were arrested last month are released.
Today, Sangma explained that the action taken by police was spun as harassment but they were only trying to end reported pilferage of fuel that was costing petrol pump owners dearly.
“Based on that complaint the police in Ri-Bhoi conducted a massive operation and they found solid evidence where they were able to pick up some people who were actually involved in all of this and that was converted into harassment by police, which is not true at all,” Sangma said.
On the demand for bail, the CM said that that can only be granted by the court and not the government but, as NEPMU is unhappy, the administration is holding talks with its representatives.
Sangma also said that the government is doing all that it can to ensure that the public does not have to bear the brunt and he requested the public and the media not to worry.
“If there is a situation that comes in then definitely the government of Meghalaya will inform the people accordingly,” he said. “But let’s not go with rumours. Let’s not go with news to just create panic among the people because that is not what’s happening as of now. There is a problem in the sense that the discussions are still on and we’re trying to resolve it but there is no immediate problem with the supply of petrol and diesel in the state. As of now, things are under control.”