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Hit by ‘goonda tax’, Bathinda refinery prefers rail route 

Bathinda, March 30

Almost a couple of months after the “goonda tax” row hit Guru Gobind Singh Refinery, it has received the first consignment of gravel through the rail route.Sources said around 50 wagons of gravel reached the refinery premises on Tuesday. The refinery has a rail link through the Ratangarh Kankwal station, which was specially developed for it. Till now the rail link was being utilised by the refinery solely for transportation of its petroleum products, besides polypropylene, coal and sulphur.The Tribune had reported in these columns last month that the refinery was exploring the feasibility of using rail link for the supply of material like sand and gravel. Incidentally, the refinery officials are completely tight-lipped over the issue.However, sources in the refinery neither admitted nor rejected the reports of gravel stock arriving there through the rail route. “All decisions are taken keeping in mind the business interests of the refinery. No decision is aimed at pleasing or displeasing anyone,” said the sources, while declining to speak further.Interestingly, the refinery has got the supply of gravel through rail route at a time when the state government has cracked down on elements collecting “goonda tax” and things have returned to the normal.Earlier last month, contractors engaged with the refinery had come out in the open against collection of “goonda tax” by some local transporters with “political backing”. These elements had been reportedly extorting money from the vehicles facilitating the supply of construction material like sand and gravel to the refinery.

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