Staff Reporter

Long queues witnessed at petrol bunks

VIJAYAWADA: The nation-wide indefinite strike by transporters, which entered second day on Thursday, not only paralysed the movement of goods but affected the life of the common man too.

People began making panic purchases, more particularly at petrol filling stations. Long queues were witnessed at many filling stations, while some of them hung ‘No Stock’ boards by afternoon itself. It was evident that the city would go dry by Friday if the mad purchase of fuel was any indication.

Situation reviewed

Sub-Collector Gaurav Uppal reviewed the situation and verified the position of essential commodities available with the dealers. He directed the officials to take necessary steps to ensure that the oil tankers continued to supply petrol and diesel to filling stations in the city. He also wanted the officials to ensure that there was no artificial scarcity of petroleum products. Deputy Tehsildar (Enforcement) M. Suresh Kumar said that the “situation is not alarming,” though some filling stations had run out of stocks. However, steps were being taken to ensure that the oil tankers coming from Kondapalli and other areas were given police protection so that lorry owners would not be able to disrupt their movement, he said.

Added to the woes of fuel scarcity, prices of vegetables too have shot up slightly. Petty traders and vendors took advantage and jacked up the prices. The wholesalers said that there was no scarcity of vegetables and enough stocks were available in the market. Prices of vegetables, especially those grown locally like ladies’ finger and coccinia (dondakaya) would not be affected. However, the prices of vegetables like tomato, potato and cabbage were likely to go up sharply, as they were imported from places like Agra, Kolkata and Karnataka, explained the wholesalers.

“The situation may go out of control if the strike continues on Friday also. There is a possibility of prices of some vegetables like tomato jumping by 25 per cent to 50 per cent,” said D. Nageswara Rao, secretary of the Vijayawada Wholesale Vegetable Merchants Association.

The wholesalers said that the lorries carrying vegetables such as potato were halted at the borders of the State. Unless these lorries entered the city, the prices of vegetables like tomato could go up.

Vijayawada Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Gaddam Subba Rao expressed concern that the essential commodities and medicines were not being considered as emergency products on a par with water and milk. The government, in 2004, assured that it would solve the problems of lorry owners. But, the hike in diesel price, service tax and toll tax pushed the transport sector into doldrums. Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy and Opposition leaders should prevail upon the central government to address the issue on war footing, he said.