For scores of women and men from low and middle income groups, the monthly chore of getting their ration of kerosene has turned more arduous with erratic power supply throwing the distribution system at kerosene bunks and fair price shops into disarray.

“I have just managed to get my monthly quota of kerosene after a two-hour wait in the queue. Twice earlier, I had to return as there was no power supply. With just one LPG cylinder, we cannot afford to go without my quota of three litres of kerosene,” said a weary-looking aged woman of Kuthbisha Nagar here.

Relief was writ large on her face as she walked out of the kerosene bunk at Thennur Anna Nagar carrying the can of fuel on Saturday afternoon. Like several others, she has to sparingly use the single LPG cylinder and use kerosene stove alternatively.

Behind her, irate men and women were quarrelling, accusing each other of attempting to jump the queue.

A police constable on routine rounds had to take up the impromptu task of regulating the crowd. Ration card holders from about 10 fair price shops draw their monthly quota of kerosene from this bunk. They have to maintain constant vigil to find out whether there is stock at the bunk and the power supply before rushing to get their quota of kerosene.

Many people waiting in the queue complained that given the 12 to 14 hours of power cut, which includes six to eight hours during the day, there is no certainty when they would get their quota of essential commodities from ration shops.

While fair price shops face problems in operating electronic weighing machines, kerosene bunks cannot operate without power supply to the pumps.

“Very often we have to return empty-handed, at times after waiting in the queue for an hour or so as the power goes off,” lamented a woman.