While the Petroleum Ministry works on a law to ban strikes by oil sector employees,MPs associated with it have chided Petroleum Minister Murli Deora for inflicting harsh punishment on officers who spearheaded the strike that choked the countrys retail supplies for two days in January.
Cutting across party lines,most MPs who attended last Tuesdays meeting of the ministrys Parliamentary Consultative Committee said it was well within the officersright to protest and resort to strike in a democracy,and the penalties inflicted on them went against the constitutional provisions.
They also criticised Deora for duality in the way punishments were handed out and requested him to reinstate the officers who were sacked. The management of state-run oil and gas undertakings laid off 67 officers on same charges but later reinstated all but five officers. Of the 62 reinstated,only six are under suspension.
Only a handful of the 21 MPs who attended the meeting spoke,but all were in agreement. Seeking leniency and magnanimity from the minister,they said the family members of the laid-off officers were facing economic hardship.