M A I N   N E W S

700 fuel outlets in Punjab run dry
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 31
As more than 20 per cent of the retail outlets of various state-run oil marketing companies in Punjab ran dry today, panic-struck people began hoarding petrol and diesel, wherever available.

The situation was worse in rural belts of Amritsar and Jalandhar and in the districts of Bathinda, Barnala and Sangrur, where people began storing diesel in drums. Fearing that the diesel supply would be restricted, paddy cultivators, who require diesel in this season to run the tubewells, were reportedly hoarding huge quantities of diesel.

Petroleum dealers say they cannot ration the fuel and are forced to supply as much as is being demanded by the consumers.

Official sources informed TNS that over 250 retail outlets of the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) and over 450 outlets of Hindustan Petroleum Corporation (HPCL) and Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL) were running dry today. Petrol pump dealers in Punjab said that while they were forced to close shop in the wake of the supply constraints, they were also facing the wrath of customers.

In anticipation of a price hike announcement today, the terminals of the HPCL at Jalandhar and Bathinda had refused to accept indents from the petroleum dealers, which further aggravated the situation. It was only around 11 a.m. that the terminal started accepting indents and the supply was restored. Though the officials of the HPCL denied that the terminals of the company had been temporarily closed down, they conceded that the terminal opened late and that they supplied only 600 kilo litres (KL) of fuel today. It is learnt that the average fuel supplied by three HPCL terminals (including the one at Sangrur) is around 2000 KL a day.

The oil companies, however, say that the demand for petrol and diesel had grown manifold in the past 10 days. “As the entire crisis faced by the rising crude oil prices was debated in the media, people started hoarding fuel. The demand in the past 10 days has grown by 50 per cent for diesel and 40 per cent for petrol. The average growth in demand, between April 1 and May 20, was just 12 per cent in diesel and 18 per cent in petrol,” said a top official of the IOC. He added that as against a daily supply of 6400 KL of diesel and 1400 KL of petrol earlier, IOC had supplied 9500 KL of diesel and 1900 KL of petrol now.

Figures available with The Tribune also revealed that while the BPCL was witnessing a negative growth in diesel sale in Punjab, it was seeing a growth of 20 per cent in petrol sales. For the HPCL, the growth in sales is over 8 per cent in diesel and over 5 per cent in petrol.



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |