Namakkal: Rejecting the oil marketing companies' offer on increasing the transport charges by 27 paise per km, bulk LPG transporters in the south on Monday decided to continue their five-day old indefinite strike insisting on a higher rate and addition of 500 more tanker lorries.
  
An emergency meeting of Southern Region LPG Tanker Lorry Transport Owners Association held here to discuss the offer 'unanimously' decided that the strike would continue till their demands of Rs 2.80 per tonne per km and adding another 500 tanker lorries to the existing strength of 3,700 were accepted, an official of the association said.
   
"Unless the oil companies accept our demand of Rs 2.80 in plains and per tonne per KM and Rs 2.90 per tonne per KM in hill areas, the strike will continue. A resolution in this regard was passed at the meeting," association Secretary N R Karthik told reporters.
  
The transporters launched the indefinite strike, second since January, from the mid-night of February 29 pressing their demands.
  
The oil marketing companies had made the offer to increase the transportation rate to Rs 2.50 from the existing Rs 2.23 during the marathon tri-partite talks held on Saturday in Chennai in the presence of Tamil Nadu Civil Supplies and Consumer Protection Commissioner P M Basheer Ahamed.   

The association had then sought time till today to decide on the offer.
  
The talks were held amid concerns that the strike could affect supply of LPG to domestic and other users in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Puducherry and Goa.
  
Currently, about 3,700 tanker lorries ply across the four southern states and also to Puducherry and Goa. On a day, about 700 tonne of LPG is carried from Chennai to various destinations, association sources said.
   
A senior oil company official had recently said the price of paying Rs 2.50 per tonne per kilometre to the tankers was the "best solution" since, even a single paise increase would cost them about Rs 2.50 crore per day.
  
The current rate of Rs 2.23 was fixed in the tender floated three years ago.

(Agencies)