For three consecutive days, there’s been utter chaos at fuel pumps in the Valley. Many fuel pumps in Srinagar were locked up on Wednesday, causing panic among the residents.
The ones that were still selling saw large queues, with many people unusually refilling fuel tanks of their vehicles to full capacity.
“I have to take as much fuel as possible… I have a young child and old parents at home…what if there’s an emergency,'' said Suhail Ahmad, a Srinagar resident.
The crisis broke out on Monday after a few fuel dealers in the state’s summer capital Srinagar claimed that supplies were running out. They blamed oil companies for the mess.
“At any given time there should be a stock of two lakh and seventy thousand litres of petroleum,'' said Bilal Ahmad Bhat, general secretary of Kashmir Valley Petroleum Dealers. “But the oil companies are allowing the depots to run dry,” he added.
However, some sources said there are still around 1,800 fuel tankers available in the Valley. Even the minister for consumer affairs and public distribution, Choudary Zulfikar Ali, said the problem would be over soon and that the situation was “just panic reaction”
“We have sufficient quantity of petroleum products with us. We have 11 days’ supply with Indian oil and seven days’ with Hindustan Petroleum,'' he added.
Choudhary said the panic was triggered after some pumps run by Bharat Petroleum closed down, as one of their refineries in Maharastra shut for a few days.
“People started refilling (tanks) more than the routine. On Tuesday, Hindustan Petroleum the stock meant for six days sold out in just a single day,'' the minister said.
He assured that oil tankers will be reaching Srinagar by Wednesday evening and the situation would be better on Thursday.
Fuel to the Valley is supplied by the three major oil companies - Indian Oil, Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum.