Hundreds of Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) petrol bunks in and around Chennai are fast running out of fuel as supplies from the company's Korukkupet terminal remained disrupted since Saturday in view of a strike by tanker-truck operators.
The state transport undertakings and PDS (public distribution system) kerosene supplies are also likely to feel the heat, sources in the company said.
The terminal takes care of the bulk of the diesel requirements of the STUs in and around Chennai. There are plans to apprise senior officials of the State government of the situation on Tuesday as talks with the truckers on Monday did not break the stalemate.
The truckers have stopped operating the vehicles as they want the oil company to reverse its decision to use the Chennai-Tiruchi-Madurai pipeline to cater to markets around Tiruchi, which were supplied by the trucks from Korukkupet.
The truck operators say it means less business and return on their investment. They also cite the minimum mileage agreed under the contract.
Sources in the company said that even without supplying to the areas around Tiruchi the truckers do more than the minimum mileage. Moreover, it does not make sense to have a pipeline and not utilise its potential, particularly at a time when the company is selling many products below the cost price.
An office-bearer of the IOC dealers association said no supply was made from the terminal on Monday as the striking truckers did not allow the vehicles sent by dealers to operate. Sources in the company, however, disputed this and said supplies were sent on vehicles of the dealers. But use of the same vehicles to other dealer outlets was opposed by the truckers.
Still the supplies were grossly inadequate, the sources said, pointing out that on an average 3500 KL of fuel is transported from Korukkupet on Monday. Only 50 per cent of the retail outlets were fed.
About 325 petrol bunks are catered to by the terminal, of which about 225 are in Chennai, Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur districts.
In view of the alleged threats by the striking truckers, the oil company has alerted the police.
IOC sources said stock outs were likely on Tuesday morning at many outlets and it could put more pressure on the demand for fuel at the outlets of other oil marketing companies.