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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Tamil Nadu hit by diesel shortage

Diesel users in Tamil Nadu had a tough time for the 10th consecutive day Tuesday, as the fuel shortage continued unabated.

Long queues were seen in many parts of the state. According to petroleum dealers, the current crisis has been triggered by the state-run oil companies, which have curtailed supplies to hike prices again to combat mounting losses.

Tamil Nadu is losing at least Rs.25 million a day due to the fuel shortage, which has affected movement of essential goods across the state. Prices of vegetables and other essential goods have shot up.

However, the oil companies say the crisis is a result of acute power shortage in the state.

Many industries and IT companies in Chennai, Tiruvallur, Cuddalore, Kanchipuram, Villupuram and Vellore are now powering their plants and offices with diesel gensets, a move that resulted in a sudden jump in demand for diesel.

The Tamil Nadu Petroleum Dealers Association (TNPDA), at its general body meeting held in Salem Monday, decided that its member-dealers would not open petrol bunks on Sundays and after 10 p.m. on week days as they don't get adequate supplies to meet the high demand Monday mornings.

However, the state government Tuesday appealed to the TNPDA to change its decision. The government has also denied reports of severe fuel shortage in the state.

Chief Secretary L.K. Tripathy told reporters Saturday that public sector fuel companies had promised to shore up supplies.

Besides, Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi has written to the central government for higher allocation of diesel to the state.

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