Onam celebrations are in full swing but the virtual shutdown at petrol pumps and cooking gas outlets has put a damper on the festivities for many.

While the shortage of cooking gas has been an after-effect of the strike called by contract transport workers attached to the liquefied petroleum gas bottling plant of Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. at Paripally, the petrol shortage has been attributed to the delay in the arrival of a shipment at the Cochin shipyard.

In various areas on the suburbs, petrol and cooking gas have been unavailable for the past three days.

Limited stocks today

“I have been visiting the two petrol pumps in my area for the past three days, but to no avail. When we went today, they said that stocks will be available on Wednesday morning, but for a short time as only limited stocks will arrive,” Dhinil, a software engineer from Kazhakuttam, said.

When contacted by The Hindu, Alex Vallakkalil, former president of the Kerala Federation of Petrol Traders, said all pumps of the IOC in the city and surrounding areas had been experiencing a shortage.

“Two petrol-laden ships that were supposed to arrive at the Cochin shipyard before Onam were delayed, causing the current shortage. Even though they arrived two days ago, there has been a problem with unloading as well. The shortage in Kochi was solved by Wednesday. Pumps in Thiruvananthapuram are expected to get the stock soon,” Mr. Alex said.

The pumps usually stock petrol only for a maximum of two days. This was exhausted fast owing to the Onam rush.

As for cooking gas, though the transport workers’ strike was called off two days ago, the stocks are yet to arrive in shops here. With employees going on leave for Onam, the shortage is expected to continue for two more days at least.

“I booked for a cylinder on June 15 and am still waiting for it. After the news of the strike being called off came, nearly 100 of us gathered in front of the agency on Sunday. But only the unloading workers were there, and the stocks had not arrived. We had to depend on expensive cylinders from a private company for the Onam cooking,” K. Vineesh of Kaniyapuram said.

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