The oil strike was called off in the evening. But before that,the city petrol pumps presented a picture of deep gloom.
While most remained under lock and key,those that still had a few drops left saw serpentine queues.
I had gone to AJC Bose Road and then Camac Street. In both cases,the stock was over before I could have my turn, said MD Manu,a taxi driver from Park Circus,who was at the fag end of a long queue at the pump on Lee Road.
The proprietor of a Bharat Petroleum pump at Ballugunge Phari was seen locking up,looking altogether frustrated. The last time I got the supply was two days ago. Now there is nothing left, he said.
Hoarding aggravated the situation.
If people start buying 50 litres of fuel instead of 5 due to the panic,obviously our stock,which might have lasted two more days,is almost gone in a day, said Bina Dholakia of Viyaj Service Station at Ballygunge Lower Circular Road.
Of the 370-odd petrol pumps in Kolkata and its adjoning areas,72 pumps under the Hindustan Petroleum Corporation limited were functioning under pressure of increased demand.
Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited has 75 pumps in Kolkata,90 per cent of which have gone dry.
Senior manger regional retail sales HPCL,D K Burman said: We are getting a four-fold increase in demand. Though the situation is under control,we are not being able to meet the demand sometimes.
At the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International airport,nine flights were delayed because of a fuel crisis.
We have stocks to last us a month,but there is a problem of manpower because of the strike, said a senior manager of Indian Oil Corporation stationed at the aviation fuelling station of the Kolkata airport.