Reeling under cash crunch, the Punjab Police have for the past over three months stopped sourcing fuel for the police-owned fuel station at police lines, here.
Consequently, local police have been borrowing fuel from petrol pumps, and are now under a whopping debt of Rs. 40 lakh.
With the petroleum companies not selling fuel without advance payments, the cash-strapped police headquarters in Chandigarh had asked the district police to make arrangements for fuel for sometime, which has now extended to over three months.
Meanwhile, police approached the local filling station owners, urging them to lend fuel, with an assurance that the headquarters would make payment soon.
However, irked over delay in payments in the past, a filling station at Ferozepur Road refused to loan fuel to the police.
Thereafter, the local police approached a filling station at Hambran road near police lines, which agreed to give fuel to police on credit.
This filling station has been providing fuel for police vehicles for the past over three months; but is yet to get a single penny as payment, leading to a bill of Rs. 40 lakh.
An officer, on the condition of anonymity, said, he had been getting the government vehicle refueled from his own pocket, as when seniors asked him to travel for patrolling or investigation, he could not refuse to comply.
The officer said scarcity of fuel was a routine practice for the police, but it was the first time that the crunch had extended for over three months.
Additional deputy commissioner of police (ADCP) (headquarters) Sukhpal Singh Brar said the police had been borrowing fuel from filling stations, and would make the payment soon after getting funds from the Punjab Police headquarters in Chandigarh.
Cutting down on fuel, the answer?
Sensing the situation, the police have cut down on the fuel being allocated to officers. While earlier the station house officers (SHOs) were getting 90 litres of diesel per month for Mahindra Scorpio vehicles, they are now getting 50 litres.
The PCR motorcycles are getting only up to 2 litres of petrol.
Vehicles used by various officials
Commissioner of police: Toyota Innova
Deputy commissioner of police (DCP) and additional deputy commissioner of police (ADCP): Mahindra Bolero
Police control room (PCR): Chevrolet Tavera and motorcycles
Station house officer (SHO): Mahindra Scorpio
Additional commissioner of police (ACP): Mahindra Jeep and Xylo
Total vehicles 260, including 108 motorcycles and 25 Honda activa scooters.