Chennai fuel shortage will end soon, says official

July 1st, 2008 - 6:54 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, July 1 (IANS) The acute shortage of petrol and diesel in the city would ease and become normal by Tuesday evening as oil tankers would be arriving at the port shortly, a senior oil company official said here Tuesday. Coordinator and executive director of the state-owned Indian Oil Corp in Tamil Nadu, V.K. Jayachandran, said tankers owned by Bharat Petroleum were on their way. “Supplies would improve significantly in Chennai and its suburbs by Tuesday,” he said.

Fuel vending stations virtually ran dry Monday night, mainly on account of delivery delays by BPCL. Most stations witnessed serpentine queues of vehicles late into the night.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi warned hoarders of stringent action, while chief secretary L.K. Tripathy told fuel company officials and associations of fuel stations that penal action would be taken if the “artificial shortage was not stopped immediately”.

Petrol sold at Rs.100 a litre in the black market Monday, and diesel went for over Rs.60 - and only to those who came with jerry cans, consumers told IANS.

Radio stations broadcast news about availability of fuel in various parts of the city Tuesday, but fears of a scarcity persisted.

Several people told IANS of colleagues applying for leave citing non-availability of fuel.

Vegetable prices went up Monday by almost 80 percent.

Meanwhile, the Madras High Court has stepped into the picture, entertaining a public interest plea seeking government direction to oil companies to “ensure supply of ordinary petrol and diesel through retail dealers”, instead of selling only branded fuel.

Fifty-one lawyers had petitioned the court June 24 to direct the central government to ensure oil companies “supply ordinary petrol and diesel to the dealers, instead of selling the same under various brand names for higher price”.

They further alleged petrol pump owners here sold only branded products “in connivance with the authorities”.

Entertaining their petition, Chief Justice A.K. Ganguly and Justice F.M. Ibrahim Kallifulah Monday served a notice to the central government.

The next hearing is scheduled for July 4.

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