SRINAGAR: While oil dealers on Friday said that Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) have agreed to pass supplies to them, after they were stopped for the first time since 1947, vegetable dealers here say that the stranglehold has been firmed further over them.
Oil supplies according to local association had been blocked inexplicably, forcing people and emergency service providers to rush to the pumps to up their reserves.
Association members said that the curfewed valley still needs five percent of its normal 20 lakh litre daily demand and its stoppage would have led to a huge crisis.
One of the top members of the association told Kashmir Reader that OMCs never declined supplies and it was only during the 1947 Kashmir War between India and Pakistan that supplies from the Burmah-Shell Oil Storage and Distributing Company of India that supplied fuel through Rawalpindi Pakistan, were stopped.
“There were only few pumps in whole valley then and today their number is 275, which on normal days sell about seven lakh litres of petrol and 13 lakh litres of diesel,” he said.
Three major GoI-owned oil marketing companies that supply petroleum to dealers here are Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL), Hindustan Petroleum Corporation (BPCL) and Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), who have to maintain 1.5 crore liters of different fuel stocks here.
The association members said that for the first time OMCs put an embargo on supply to dealers, even though they maintained supplies for troops.
“The situation was resolved with a supply of seven lakh litres being off-loaded on Friday,” said a member of the association.
The dealers said that supply was presently being utilised to run essential services in the state.
Earlier, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Basheer Khan had denied reports that the oil companies have been asked to stop fuel supply to Kashmir. He said that oil companies have approached the government with the plea that their tankers are facing recurrent attacks in the Valley.
Vegetable dealers in Srinagar are still complaining. They said on Friday that police have barred trading at the main vegetable mandi at Batamaloo for the second day in succession and are asking for its closure.
Mehraj-ud-din Nath, vice-president of the wholesale vegetable dealers’ association at Iqbal Sabzi Mandi Batamaloo, said that apart for closing down the mandi, supplies to the mandi were also stopped at Narakara, Parmpora, Malroo, Safakadal, Dal Lake and Chadoora areas.
“We replenish our stocks daily, but now they cannot reach the mandi, so stocks are vanishing fast,” he said.
The association has met top officials at DC office who assured that essential supplies will be allowed, but so far trade in vegetables is not being allowed.
Meanwhile, milk supplies to the city have also been restricted, with supplies from Pulwama, Budgam and Ganderbal areas being limited.
Ulemas in their Friday sermons in mosques strongly condemned the government move to starve people.