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Fuel crisis blows over, business as usual at bunks

N. Ravi Kumar and T. Ramakrishnan

Company officials say sufficient stock of petrol, diesel available

Oil firms asked to ensure sufficient replenishment

Companies told to appoint coordinators to monitor the stock position

— Photo: V. Ganesan

SORTING IT OUT: Food Minister E.V. Velu in discussion with officials of oil companies in Chennai on Wednesday.

CHENNAI: It was business as usual on Wednesday for most petrol bunks in the city and the suburbs, with oil marketing companies pumping in substantial quantities of petrol and diesel in an attempt to tide over the nearly three-day-old fuel crisis.

Barring some retail outlets where queues of vehicles were seen in the morning and for sometime in the evening, there was no rush for fuel as reported since Sunday evening.

Senior officials of the oil industry told a press meet on Wednesday evening that normality was being restored and there is no need for the customers to panic. “We have sufficient stock … loaded [in tankers], 7,500 KL of diesel as against the average daily offtake of 4,800 KL and 3,300 KL of petrol against the requirement of 2,085 KL,” said V.K. Jayachandran, State-level Coordinator of oil industry (Tamil Nadu and Puducherry) and Executive Director of IOC (TN State office).

Noting that the situation has turned around in the last 24 hours, he said the stock on hand with the oil companies, at the Tondiarpet and Korrukkupet terminals, was 16,500 KL of petrol and 24,000 KL of diesel. The Chennai Petroleum Corporation Ltd holds 2,000 KL of petrol and 17,000 KL of diesel.

The press briefing was held hours after the State government held discussions, something that it had been doing since Monday, with officials of the companies.

At the meeting, Food and Civil Supplies Minister E. V.Velu said the companies, namely Indian Oil Corporation, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd, must ensure that the replenishment was sufficient so that the stock available does not go below 30 per cent of the capacity of oil bunks.

The companies were also told to nominate special coordinators to monitor the stock position and ensure that shortfalls were made good.

To normalise the distribution of petroleum products, immediate steps should be taken and the details regarding the opening and closing balance should be furnished to the Food Secretary and Civil Supplies Commissioner, an official release said.

Retail outlets could sell branded fuels by creating awareness of their benefits. But such outlets should also make available regular fuel. The meeting decided that the oil companies together with consumer forums and the district administration would hold awareness campaigns in every district.

Slippage in arrival

Senior officials of the companies told mediapersons that a slippage in the arrival of an import consignment of diesel by the BPCL was the reason. When the diesel stock depleted, there was panic buying of petrol as well by customers.

Sanjay Krishnamurti, Executive Director (Retail) of the BPCL said in addition to the 14,000 tonnes diesel consignment from Kochi, which arrived at the Chennai port and was being discharged since morning, one consignment of 28,000 tonnes was on its way.

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