Reunion Island signs distribution pact with Indian Oil

Reunion Island, June 14 (IANS) The signing of an agreement between Indian Oil Corporation and the French island of Reunion for import and distribution of refined petroleum products marks a key milestone in the efforts of the Indian Ocean island to develop ties with India.

Located about half an hour's flight from Mauritius, the French territory of Reunion has been trying to develop its business and cultural relationship with India.

This is not just because of the fact that Persons of Indian Origin make up for over one third of the 800,000 strong population of the island. The main reason behind the island - an overseas region of France - seeking to develop closer ties with India is business.

As the European Union, and specially France, pass through an extremely turbulent economic crisis, the Reunion economy too has been suffering tremendously.

The island, which remains dependent upon the mainland for all essential supplies, also has a monopoly in petroleum distribution, with the Société Réunionnaise de Produits Pétrolier (SRPP) being the sole player.

The SRPP has become extremely unpopular with the local population due to extremely high prices and problems in distribution. This has resulted in strikes, protest and general discontent with the situation in the Reunion.

Hence, the proposed deal with IOC is extremely crucial. This declaration of intent comes after months of discussions between Didier Roberts, the president of the Region, and Ravinder Sareen, chairman of IOC, which will import, stock and distribute petroleum products there.

"My first objective after taking charge in 2010 was to fight against the rising cost of living and the monopolies that exist in our island, especially in the essential items such as petrol or diesel. This agreement today should help in boosting competition as well as the purchasing power of the people of Reunion," said Didier Roberts, currently on an official visit to Tamil Nadu.

Though this action of going overseas for help may be seen as controversial in the mainland, it shows the commitment of the regions of France to deploy all possible means to fight the economic crisis and ease the impact of a declining purchasing power.

"This alliance today has to be seen in the right perspective. The island has been hit by a strike of petrol stations who are threatened by a declining margin and the anger is rising in the streets," said Jean Regis Ramasamy, a journalist member of the delegation from the Reunion.

"The region has been subsidising the fuel to ease the pressure on the common man but this is not viable in the long term and a solution had to be found."

The agreement could see the entry of the first ever Indian petroleum company entering the French market. The intent to work together, signed today, and which both sides hope to concretise in the next three to four months, has three main points.

The government of Reunion will facilitate the entry of IOC on the island and will also facilitate cooperation between the Indian firm and the private sector of the Reunion.

The third key point of the agreement deals with the setting up of a refinery on the island. A technical committee comprising representatives of the private sector of the Reunion, existing service stations and representatives of IOC will be set up and will take this collaboration through its various stages, with the objective of a decline in prices.

"The agreement reflects the commitment of the French government to fight inflation and to promote economic development in all the regions and territories," said Robert.

"The Réunion is a French territory located in the African continent and the Indian Ocean. The situation of our island and our mixed population are the strengths allowing us to open ourselves towards globalisation and create a meeting point between France and global powers such as India," said Robert.

One of the first actions in this direction is the launch of a direct flight between Chennai and the Reunion by Air Austral.

"Over 150 years after the first Indians arrived in the Reunion, the two territories are now connected again. This is a historic moment and finally now thousands of people from the Reunion can finally visit the land of their ancestors," said Ramasamy.

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Royal test for Kings

Royal test for Kings

Preview — Clash of philosophies between Australia-centric teams More »

Duminy steals first win for Delhi

Duminy steals first win for Delhi

Furious fifties by Duminy and Dinesh Karthik end a long losing streak for the Daredevils. More »

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

Royal Challengers overcame a stutter to cruise to the small target they were set by Mumbai Indians. More »

...if they are to return to winning ways

...if they are to return to winning ways

England have appointed a new head coach in Peter Moores. More »

‘Felt like helpless minority’

‘Felt like helpless minority’

Former BCCI treasurer Ajay Shirke says emotions got the better of the Srinivasan and he tried to oversimplify things by calling Meiyappan an “enthusia… More »

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

Kevin Pietersen's hopes of reviving his international career appeared to end Saturday when ECB managing director Paul Downton said there was 'no way back'… More »

The world record that nearly wasn't

The world record that nearly wasn't

Twenty years ago this week, Brian Lara became Test cricket's highest scorer, but he almost didn't make it. More »

Srinivasan can attend BCCI meeting

Srinivasan can attend BCCI meeting

His status as president of TNCA makes him eligible to attend the Working Committee meeting on Sunday. More »

Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Glenn Maxwell seems to project an icy disdain when at the crease. Match situations rarely faze him and the bubble in which he plays excludes everyone … More »

Bangladesh senior players to see shrink

Bangladesh senior players to see shrink

Bangladesh's senior players will have three sessions with a psychological skill development coach later this month More »

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

Dalmiya feels that Srinivasan’s ‘power hungry’ attitude isn’t helping matters. More »

Moores gets second stint as coach

Moores gets second stint as coach

In a two-year spell from 2007 to 2009, the 51-year-old Moores led England in seven Test series. More »

Tough for bowlers: Saeed Ajmal

Tough for bowlers: Saeed Ajmal

The 36-year-old believes the T20 format and rule changes in 50-over matches have made a real difference. More »

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

Kevin Pietersen has ridiculed the idea of day-night Test cricket, saying the game would be so different to proper Test cricket that we will need a whole… More »

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

The bowlers restricted Hyderabad to 133 for 6 before Rahane and Binny took Rajasthan over the line. More »

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

The Kings XI batsman blasted a 43-ball 95 to help his team pull off a massive chase against Chennai Super Kings. More »

BCCI members want independent probe

BCCI members want independent probe

The board members are realising after the Supreme Court's observations that something has to be done — IS Bindra More »

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

Two former BCCI presidents, Shashank Manohar and Jagmohan Dalmiya, have reacted strongly to the news of the BCCI calling an emergent meeting on Sunday… More »

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Preview — The threat of Sunil Narine looms large again. More »

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Preview — Given the firepower in both line-ups, Dubai crowd may see another high-scorer More »

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj Singh was hardly convincing to begin with against Delhi, but a big dose of crowd support and a helping of poor bowling meant he had the opportunity… More »

Stressed Trott stands down again

Stressed Trott stands down again

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Friday confirmed that batsman Jonathan Trott is to take another break from all cricket with immediate eff… More »

PCB starts another coach hunt

PCB starts another coach hunt

The PCB has decided to not extend the contracts of head coach Moin Khan, fielding coach Shoaib Mohammad and batting consultant Zaheer Abbas, and has invited… More »

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

England all-rounder Ben Stokes admits he must keep his anger under control if he is to end his international exile. More »