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Khulna fuel traders go on strike; supply halted in 15 districts

Fuel traders and workers went on an indefinite strike this morning to press home their demand for implementation of the commission rate on fuel sale fixed by the government.

Following the strike, fuel extraction from Khulna's three state-owned depots -- Padma, Meghna and Jamuna -- was totally halted since 8:00am and oil transportation in 15 districts was also suspended.

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Bangladesh Tank-lorry Owners Association, Bangladesh Fuel Oil Distributors Association, Khulna Divisional Tank-lorry Sramik Union and Padma Meghna and Jamuna Tank-lorry Sramik Kalyan Samity called the strike.

Sheikh Murad Hossain, general secretary of Khulna Divisional Fuel Oil Distributors Association, told The Daily Star that they would not collect fuel at the old rate from now on.

"On September 26, the government published a gazette fixing the new rates. But when we go to buy oil, the companies are not giving fuel at that rate. The companies say the government-fixed rates are yet to reach them," he said.

"As a result, the extraction of fuel from three state-owned depots in Khulna has been stopped and the supply of fuel has been stopped in 10 districts of Khulna division and in Faridpur, Gopalganj, Madaripur, Rajbari, and Shariatpur districts," he said.

"Until the new rates come into effect, we won't supply fuel," he added.

On September 3, fuel oil traders stopped oil extraction to press home their three-point demand, including raising sales commission to 7.5 percent. The other demands include setting the tank-lorry economic life to 50 years, and issuing a gazette notification in line with the pledges made.

After the assurance of the government, they finally called off the strike.

On September 26, the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources issued a notification increasing the commission.

According to the gazette, the dealers will get 2.85 percent commission on sales of per litre diesel while 4.28 percent for per litre octane, 4.34 percent for per litre petrol, and 2 percent for per litre kerosene.