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Fuel shortage likely to ease

Special Correspondent

As loading of tankers is expected to resume, say fuel station owners

— Photo: R. Ashok

On search: A serpentine queue of people carrying cans to buy petrol/ diesel at a fuel outlet near the Head Post Office in Tiruchi on Friday.

TIRUCHI: A large number of motorists endured a harrowing time throughout the day on Friday, hunting for petrol and diesel to refuel their vehicles.

Though news about the withdrawal of the strike by officers of the public sector oil companies brought some relief by evening, the few Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited outlets in the city, which have been getting supplies, witnessed a mad rush from panicked motorists.

Police had a tough time regulating the crowd at the handful of the bunks which have been functioning normally. However, two-wheeler riders had to be satisfied with one or two litres of petrol as the bunk owners resorted to rationing, so that cars and heavy vehicles travelling long distance were given adequate quantities of petrol/diesel.

Serpentine queues of people carrying cans and bottles queued up right through the day to get petrol in small quantities.

Some motorists chose to visit the bunks late in the night on Thursday and in the early hours of Friday hoping to beat the crowd and get their vehicles refuelled.

Teams of revenue and police officials inspected several bunks which had shut down since Wednesday/ Thursday to check whether they were holding back stocks. A few bunks, which were found to have left with some stocks, were ordered to sell them.

However, some persons, who had bought petrol on Wednesday and Thursday in cans, sought to make a quick buck by selling it for a premium. In some places, petrol was reportedly sold for Rs.100 a litre in the black market.

With cooking gas supply being badly hit, there was heavy demand for kerosene in the open market. Several family card holders made a bee line to the ration shops to draw their quota of kerosene for the month.

Meanwhile, fuel station owners said that the situation was expected to ease by Saturday afternoon as loading of tankers was expected to resume following the withdrawal of the officers’ strike.

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