Rush at a petrol pump in Bistupur. Picture by Srinivas
Ranchi, Jan. 9: Officers of major public sector oil companies called off their indefinite strike today.
“Beginning tomorrow, the situation would return to normal, as oil depots located in Ranchi, Jamshedpur and Dhanbad would off-load all stocks in hold. But since fresh stock from Haldia and Budge Budge in Bengal, Barauni in Bihar and Assam would take some time to reach the oil depot in the state, there would be hurdles in supply for the next few days,” said Jharkhand Petroleum Dealers’ Association spokesman Kalika Sah.
The refineries had closed down due to the indefinite strike affecting the supply chain. Though the situation is expected to improve from tomorrow, resumption of the supply chain from the refineries to the central oil depots is likely to take some more time.
Sah has asked consumers to refrain from panic buying and unnecessary hoarding so that petrol and diesel is easily available. The state has 640 petrol outlets with the Indian Oil Corporation leading in the market share followed by Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum.
Meanwhile, all petrol outlets today ran out of stock affecting long distance bus services and the public transport system. The president of the Jharkhand Bus Owners’ Association Krishna Mohan Singh said around 10 per cent of the total number of buses remained stranded. “The situation would become worse unless petrol supply is restored,” he stressed.
Long queues were seen here from early this morning, specially at Lalpur and Kanke Road. But by 10am, both the outlets ran dry.
At the Khukri petrol pump, a major row broke out between consumers and the government car drivers, as pump owners declined to supply fuel to non-government consumers. Police officials stationed at the pump had a tough time pacifying the crowd that demanded equal treatment.
Pump officials said as they had a contract with state departments, they were legally bound to continue supplies till stocks lasted.
Most city schools closed were shut for the weekend. “We are closed for the next two days. I hope that things return to normal and school buses are able to ply normally,” said Mahesh Bareja, the principal of Delhi Public School.
Ajit Khess, St Xavier’s School principal, said they had ensured that their school buses were stocked up. He also expected petrol outlets to function normally beginning next week.