Sri Lanka orders army to petrol stations amid worst fuel crisis in over 70 year | World News - Hindustan Times
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Sri Lanka orders army to petrol stations amid worst fuel crisis in over 70 year

Reuters |
Mar 22, 2022 02:03 PM IST

The Indian Ocean island nation is battling a foreign exchange crisis that forced the devaluation of its currency and hit payments for essential imports such as food, medicine and fuel, prompting the government to approach the IMF.

Sri Lanka ordered its military to post soldiers at hundreds of gas stations on Tuesday, to help distribute fuel after a sudden rise in prices of key commodities and the accompanying shortages forced tens of thousands of people to queue for hours.

Sri Lanka's Army members stand guard at a Ceylon Petroleum Corporation fuel station to help stations distribute oil during the fuel crisis, in Colombo, Sri Lanka .(REUTERS)
Sri Lanka's Army members stand guard at a Ceylon Petroleum Corporation fuel station to help stations distribute oil during the fuel crisis, in Colombo, Sri Lanka .(REUTERS)

The Indian Ocean island nation is battling a foreign exchange crisis that forced the devaluation of its currency and hit payments for essential imports such as food, medicine and fuel, prompting the government to approach the IMF.

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The decision to position troops near petrol pumps and kerosene supply points came after three elderly people dropped dead during their wait in long queues, officials said.

"At least two army personnel will be deployed at every fuel pump," military spokesman Nilantha Premaratne told Reuters, adding that the soldiers would help organise fuel distribution, but would not be involved in crowd control.

The move was a response to complaints of stockpiling and inefficient distribution, said government spokesman Ramesh Pathirana.

"The military has been deployed to help the public, not to curtail their human rights," he added.

Tension over scarcity of supplies has led to sporadic violence among residents jostling to buy fuel and other essential items.

Police said a man was stabbed to death on Monday in an argument with the driver of a three-wheeled vehicle, while last week three elderly men died while queuing to buy fuel in sweltering heat.

 

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