As the fuel crisis intensified and hundreds of petrol bunks remained closed, the State government on Monday convened a meeting to take stock of the diesel situation. It was informed by oil marketing companies that three tanker vessels with fresh supplies were expected to berth at Chennai port on Tuesday.

A press release from the State-level coordinator for oil industry, V.K.Jaychandran, said the meeting was to review the availability of diesel in Tamil Nadu in general and Chennai in particular “in view of the reports of shortage from pockets of the city.” Cooperation, Food and Consumer Protection Secretary, M.P. Nirmala chaired the meeting.

On why the release did not make a mention of petrol, he said there was no issue with the fuel availability. The problem was on account of dealers insisting on combination of loads, as ordering a full tanker load (either 12,000 or 20,000 litres) of petrol alone entails a huge investment.

The situation, he added, was expected to improve over the next few days as “a plenty of products” were likely to be supplied starting Tuesday.

For motorists, however, the morning blues continued well into late evening as many moved from one petrol bunk to another in their search of fuel.

The release said oil company officials highlighted the very high growth rates across Tamil Nadu for diesel. “BPCL is planning to move a tanker which is expected to berth in Chennai by tomorrow. To supplement the requirements, IOC and HPCL too are moving products by coast and the tankers are also expected to berth at Chennai port by tomorrow. The total input of diesel by these coastal movements is around 67,000 KL.”

Consumers, the release said, were requested “not to take more than their requirements and hoard diesel. The State government would carry out checks to ensure that no hoarding takes place and initiate strict action against anybody indulging in the same.”