IMPHAL, January 24: The indefinite public blockade in all Kuki inhabited areas of the state called by the Kuki State Demand Committee (KSDC) started from 5pm this evening has led to apprehensions of petroleum scarcity in the state owing to the shutting down of some major oil pumps in the state capital amid panic buying among the public today.
The public blockade was called by the KSDC following the failure of the government to initiate political talks with the Kuki militants under the Suspension of Operation (SoO) agreement.
The apprehension about the petrol scarcity was created in part by the shutting down of the M/S Bakliwal Enterprise oil pump at North AOC in the early part of the afternoon while M/S Phulchand Trilokchand & Co oil pump opened only in the afternoon.
Once consumers realized that the petrol pumps were shut, it led to panic buying among the general public with long queues piling up in in front of other oil pumps in Imphal.
Following the development, IFP conducted an investigation. Contrary to the public apprehension, the IFP investigation found that the Indian Oil Corporation has enough stock of petrol, diesel and kerosene at the moment.
Over and above the stock at the IOC depots, there are also oil tankers whose load or content are yet to be deposited at the depot which are referred to as “Standing stock”. As of now, there are eight petrol tankers, 16 diesel tankers and four SK oil tankers as standing stock.
Additionally, there are also 64 diesel tankers, 20 petrol tankers and nine SK oil tankers which had arrived in the state capital before 11am today.
Drawing attention to the closure of some petrol pumps and the queues seen in front of other petrol pumps in Imphal, IFP apprised M Yaiskul Meitei, Director of Consumer Affairs Food and Public Distribution and to give the official stand on whether the IOC has failed to distribute the allotted petrol and diesel to the oil pumps.
The Director said he had personally talked to the IOC State Level Co-ordinator Ibobi Singh, and added that the IOC might have felt the need to preserve some stock due to the proposed indefinite public blockade.
When asked further on how much stock the IOC can preserve and whether it is necessary for the IOC to inform the state government before taking up any such steps, the Director said that the IOC depot had been doing this from the past.
He said that after learning about certain oil pumps remaining closed while queues have started to form in front of others, the IOC State Level Co-ordinator had been strictly instructed that the IOC should allocate oil to all oil pumps that have deposited their money.
“There has been no intimation from the IOC to the state government about any scarcity of petroleum products in the state and whenever the government is informed about any such development, it will intervene and take control of the development”, the CAF&PD Director said.
Meanwhile, it is also learnt that there is 879 KL of petrol stock in the state which means that at the rate of 90 KL used daily, there is petrol stock of 9 days; 2884 KL of diesel which means that at the rate of 280 KL used daily, there is stock for 13 days.
The state also has stock of 2831 KL of SK Oil and 703 MT of LPG meaning there is LPG stock for 9 days.
However what has worried the general public is whether the IOC depot will take advantage of the economic blockade and create a monopoly over the distribution.