Fuel panic lingers after strike called off
The city may have heaved a sigh of relief when the striking oil officers called off their strike,but the panic continued overnight. Things are expected to take a day or two to return to normal.
Uday Lodh,president of Federation of All-Maharashtra Petroleum Dealers Association (FAMPEDA),said,The situation should return to normal by Saturday evening, while Chief Minister Ashok Chavan said,We are assuming that the situation should improve significantly by tomorrow. It will take a couple of days for the backlog to be cleared.
Eighty-five per cent petrol pumps were shut in the city. Indian Oil Corporation will start its supply on Saturday morning,but the Bharat Petroleum Corporation has begun supplies by Friday evening and therefore there is some respite, Lodh said.
All day long,serpentine queues were seen at the handful of pumps that did not take part in the strike. The Petroleum Dealers Association said 190 of the citys 215 pumps had dried up.
Jatin Deshmukh,a sales executive with a private firm,said,As Im in the marketing industry,Ive to travel by motorbike. There is no fuel since Thursday evening.
The CM conceded that the queues outside the pumps have not reduced. He said the stock condition of HPCL,BPCL and ONGC is mostly normal,but not that of the Indian Oil Corporation. IOC contributes 30 per cent to the market; HPCL and BPCL contribute 70.
After invoking ESMA on Thursday,there were some hurdles in terms of complaints being lodged. Companies on Friday evening submitted list of employees who did not report for work. The police will initiate action as complaints are now being lodged, Chavan said.
BEST buses ran normally though but packed. The state transport corporation has fuel for two more days.
LPG distribution and Piped Natural Gas supply were also hit. A CNG shortage crippled the movement of office-goers. Of the 132 outlets,50 were operating. A L Quadros,general secretary of Bombay Taximens Union the citys largest taxi union said only 250-300 of the 55,000 black and yellow cabs operated on Friday.
There were no rickshaws on the streets till Thursday evening,but the numbers are increasing now, said Tambi Kurien,general secretary,Mumbai Automens Union.