Anantnag: An assurance by the administration, vouching for Kashmir having enough fuel reserves, did nothing to ease nerves among the people as they kept flocking fuel stations to get their vehicles filled amid “rumours” of an imminent fuel crisis.
The rumours had started Wednesday afternoon, and soon after, people started panic buying of petrol and diesel across the Kashmir valley. The panic continued on Thursday as every fuel station witnessed chaotic scenes.
Almost every fuel station in Kashmir was seen filled to the brim with vehicles, and long queues stretched well beyond the stations. Many could be seen getting huge containers filled with petrol and/or diesel, in an apparent bid to hoard for a crisis.
The administration stepped in for damage control and vouched that there was enough fuel in Kashmir valley. Divisional Commissioner P K Pole asked people to not pay any heed to the rumours.
“People can go to Indian Oil and Bharat Petroleum outlets and get their vehicles refilled,” a news agency quoted Pole as saying. “The Hindustan Petroleum outlets will also have enough fuel by the evening today,” Pole said.
Pole asked people to not hoard and buy only as much fuel as they need.
People, however, did not pay any heed to what Pole had to say and continued to flock to gas stations. “There is a shortage of fuel at Hindustan Petroleum and Bharat Petroleum outlets. Indian Oil outlets do have fuel but are now overwhelmed with overcrowding of vehicles at their outlets,” a petrol pump owner from south Kashmir’s Anantnag district told Kashmir Reader.
Meanwhile, the spokesperson of Kashmir Valley Petroleum Dealers Association, Bilal Ahmad Bhat acknowledged that there was a shortage at HP and BP outlets given the fact that these companies were facing some losses.
“The companies have been maintaining that they are facing a 28 rupees loss on every litre of petrol. They have advised their dealers to avoid bulk selling of the fuel,” Bhat said while talking to media persons in Srinagar. “These companies have started rationing of fuel,” he said.
He said that Kashmir might face the brunt in the coming days because of the Amarnath Yatra and the ongoing tourist season. “We had cautioned the authorities in advance and the authorities had got in touch with the oil companies and asked them to keep supplies intact,” he said.
However, Bhat said, rationing by the oil companies was playing a spoilsport.
The problem, however, is not confined to Kashmir, as many other states have been hit with a fuel shortage as reported by some newspapers.
Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, and some other states have already been affected badly. The quantum of impact this crisis is going to have in Kashmir remains to be seen.