Outlets in city run out of petrol too

The city and its suburbs are in the grip of a diesel shortage that on Saturday saw petrol bunks in many localities remaining closed in the absence of replenishments and a section of cargo movers complaining that over one-third of their fleet was not being operated for want of fuel.

Through the day there were also complaints from motorists about many outlets also running out of petrol.

“The situation in regard to diesel is bad and might see freight charges increasing and as a result push up the cost of the commodities that we move. Nearly 40 per cent of our vehicles are not plying,” said R. Sukumar, president, Confederation of Surface Transport (Tamil Nadu). The Confederation members own 1.5 lakh vehicles, including cabs, mini-vans to lorries.

Sources at the Koyambedu wholesale vegetable market said that there has been no impact on the prices as diesel availability is an issue only in Chennai.

The shortage, which officials in oil marketing companies attribute to various reasons, including the demand going up in the backdrop of growing requirement for power generation, is a matter of concern for all.

K. Purushothaman, Regional Director, NASSCOM said that the demand for diesel to run the generators had increased. Sundays and Tuesdays are power holiday for the companies in Chennai. Chennai, he added, housed 600 IT and ITES companies and together they employ 2.75 lakh people.

The diesel shortage could hit operations of the company, he said, adding that NASSCOM had made a representation to the State government seeking its intervention. Both NASSCOM and the Confederation want oil companies to make a public announcement on the situation.

The shortage, sources in the oil industry said, was due to delay in arrival of coastal tankers ordered by BPCL from Kochi, problem with HPCL supplies to IOC in Andhra Pradesh, which in turn has made IOC send products from Chennai too, and one of the boilers of Chennai Petroleum Corporation Limited refinery in Manali awaiting renewal of certification.

CPCL managing director S. Venkataramana said there were no issues with the refinery post the shutdown of one of its units. “We had supplied 2,30,000 tonnes of the 2,72,000 tonnes of diesel that we agreed to supply this month. There are still a few more days to go. If at all there is a shortfall it will be a very small quantity and the marketing companies should be able to manage. As regards the boiler, he said it was a routine inspection following a turnaround. The other four boilers were functional.”

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