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Several petrol bunks run out of stock

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Motorists queuing up at a petrol bunk in Tiruvallur. —
Motorists queuing up at a petrol bunk in Tiruvallur. —

Special Correspondent

Line-up of motorists is a common scene at several units in city and suburbs

CHENNAI: Many petrol pumps in the city and suburbs, including almost all those in Tiruvallur, reported ‘no stock’ for several hours on Monday.

The situation compounded the problems for motorists, who over the past couple of weeks have been complaining that many outlets were only dispensing the expensive premium variety of petrol and diesel.

An Indian Oil Corporation dealer in Tiruvallur said that for an indent made on Friday, the stocks were delivered only around noon on Monday. With customers purchasing more than what they usually do, almost all of the 4,000 litres of regular petrol supplied was sold out within hours, he added.

Tamilnadu Petroleum Dealers’ Association president M. Kannan said reports of dry-outs were coming in over the last few days from several areas.

Blaming the oil companies for rationing fuels, he said their officials cited operational reasons when the dealers’ complained of inadequate and delayed supplies.

Staff at one of the outlets in Tiruvallur, which dispensed fuel for sometime in the morning, had a tough time handling the crowd of customers. The outlet started receiving more than the usual number of customers after many other outlets in the area said they have run out of the products, particularly petrol.

While ‘no stock’ board was displayed at the petrol dispensing unit in two outlets, temporary barricade barring entry were placed at two other bunks. One of the outlets dispensed diesel.

The situation, another dealer in Tiruvallur said, turned worse on Sunday afternoon when many of the outlets ran out of even premium petrol, which is priced around Rs.5 more a litre than the regular variety.

In Chennai, the company-operated outlet of Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) on Anna Salai dispensed regular petrol only to two=wheelers and autorickshaws.

R. Radhakrishnan, general manager (South Zone) of HPCL, however, denied that there was any rationing of the products. Admitting that there may be operational constraints, he said that panic buying had led to a spurt in the demand for the fuels.

There were, however, customers who found it difficult to get even their usual requirement of fuels. A senior citizen in Alwarpet, who had to go to the hospital, complained that he could not get diesel. The Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) outlet in Alwarpet, from where he has been purchasing his fuel, ran out of diesel and there was not enough in the car to take it elsewhere.

A senior official of the BPCL said the present situation was caused by a delay in arrival of petrol and diesel imports by the national oil companies for distribution in several parts of the country. “There has been some slippage in the arrival of the import parcels as a result of which some outlets reported dry-outs,” he added.

Sources in Chennai Petroleum Corporation Limited said the refinery was maintaining its despatches. A spokesperson of the IOC denied that there was any problem at the company’s outlets.

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