Gangtok, 04 Jul:

Petrol pumps in and around the capital have been running short of fuel since Monday. Long lines of vehicles could be seen in some of the petrol pumps today with only limited amounts of fuel being allowed per vehicle.

SNOD at Deorali did not have any fuel on Monday and only received fresh supplies of 6000 lts of petrol in the evening. The pump in-charge informed that they were to receive another batch of 9000 lts by Tuesday evening.

At Khangri petrol pump, it was informed that they only have 1000 lts emergency stock.

Bansilal petrol pump on Indira Bye Pass was allowing fuel worth Rs 700 per vehicle today and the workers there said that they are not sure of when fresh supplies will arrive.

The petrol pumps at Chanmari were also completely out of stock [petrol] today.

It may be recalled that the Pragatishil Tankers Drivers Association, an association of Oil Tanker drivers transporting Petrol and Diesel from NJP to Sikkim, had decided to shut down their service from 22 June onwards in support of the Gorkhaland demand. However, it could not be confirmed if the Association's strike is still on as there are a few tankers that are supplying fuel to Sikkim at the moment.

The East District Magistrate had passed an order on 01 July instructing all petroleum products/fuel outlets in the district to ration the sale of High Speed Diesel and Motor Spirit to the buyers.

For the general public not more than 20 liters of HSD/MS is to be given per vehicle per day by the petrol pumps on production of requisite coupons/permissions from the designated authorities.

All petrol pumps in the district are also required to maintain a minimum buffer stock of 1,500 liters each of HSD & MS excluding the dead stock in the storage tank, as per the notification.

In case of emergencies, 30 liters of HSD/MS is admissible on the production of requisite coupons/ permission from the issuing authorities on submission of valid reason.

Similar orders were passed by other District Magistrates as well.

However, with petrol pumps running short of fuel and no fresh orders from the authorities till Tuesday, there is uncertainty at all levels, from consumers to retailers and this could mean more problems if consumers start hoarding or panic buying.