A day after the Kashmir divisional administration pressed a panic button over “fast-depletion of petroleum products” in the Valley, chaotic scenes were witnessed at petrol and diesel outlets in the Valley, especially in the state’s summer capital Srinagar, on Friday.
Scores of consumers accused the governor’s administration of “lying” that enough stocks of fuel and LPG were available in the Valley.
The divisional administration Thursday asked outlets to restrict sale of petrol at 3 liters per-vehicle per-day and diesel at 10 liters per-vehicle per-day. The administration asked
deputy commissioners to keep a check on “judicious” sale of petrol and diesel and ensure that each consumer “does not buy cooking gas cylinders in bulk to avoid further shortage”.
Many consumers said the administration’s order triggered panic.
“The administration has been seemingly lying that stocks will last for a month even if the highway remains closed for such a period. Following the divisional administration’s call, people are rushing to petrol outlets with their vehicles and also rushing to get many as (LPG) cylinders refilled,” said Basit Ahmad, a consumer from Hyderpora.
A source said that ahead of winter, the administration would ensure that 17,000- 20,000 LPG cylinders, mostly from the Indian oil corporation, are dumped in Kashmir, while this stock for Leh and Kargil happens to be nearly 1 lakh cylinders.
This figure is however notwithstanding the fact that Kashmir witnesses average consumption of 3500 cylinders a day.
“8450 cylinders are stuck on the highway and if the road remains closed for more than seven days, we will be facing a severe shortage of LPG in the market,” said an official of an oil marketing company, wishing not to be named as he wasn’t authorised to speak to media.
Consumers say frequent closure of the Jammu-Srinagar highway results in truckloads of LPG and fuel tankers getting stuck on the road. However, this is exposing the government’s tall claims of sufficient stocks of fuel and cooking gas being available in the Valley, they said.
The impact of fuel shortage is felt even at the Srinagar airport, where, despite improvement in weather, more flights may get cancelled as the airport is “running short” of aviation turbine fuel (ATF), which is needed to refuel flights before their takeoff.
A source said supplies of ATF are stuck on the highway since mid-January.
An oil marketing company executive, wishing anonymity, told Greater Kashmir that even though the companies have a “hospitality agreement” to share stocks of LPG and other petroleum products but “due to highway closure and a subsequent massive demand of its own consumers, lender companies can provide only a limited support to companies in need”.