Black marketers make merry as Churachandpur grapples with acute scarcity of fuel

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By Alex Guite

LAMKA, September 5: Vehicle owners in Churachanpur district have not received any petrol from the three pumps located in Lamka town for the last six days and with a blockade looming large along the National Highways, it seems there is no respite for motorists who can only just wait and watch.

Officials of the district on conditions of anonymity told IFP that they are hard-pressed to fix the problem which is compounded by rampant selling of petrol in the black market.

If petrol ceases to be available in the black market, motorists will be left without any means to buy petrol as oil depots are running dry. The district collector PK Jha told IFP that he has been monitoring the situation and was trying to fix the problem.

The fuel scarcity has been hard on the motorists who have to run helter-skelter to get fuel at a price which is already as much as Rs. 40 more than the usual price as black marketers now sell it at Rs 110 per litre or more.

The shortage is compounded by frequent bandhs and blockades in Manipur but the lack of compliance to the proposed regulations of the district administration has also played a major factor.

The DC had issued an order on May 5 that heavy motor vehicles should be allotted 40 litres of diesel, light vehicles with 20 litres of diesel, both diesel and petrol versions of three wheelers with either 10 litres of diesel or petrol, four wheeler petrol vehicles with 20 litres of petrol and two wheelers with 10 litres per day.

The directive to enforce the allocations has however not been implemented.

Many motorists told this correspondent that they were helpless as owners of petrol pumps in collusion with the black marketers continue to flout the regulations from the district administration.

Meanwhile, Churachandpur SP K Kabib told IFP that they are planning to routinely monitor the black marketing of all essential commodities apart from petrol and LPG after receiving complaints and having notice such practices by the black marketers who take advantage of the frequent bandhs.

However, some of the petrol pump owners claimed that they are not to be blamed as the petrol which are sold in black are procured from Mizoram at Rs 95 per litre with great difficulty which the black marketers sell at Rs 120 or more per litre.

Despite the fact that the owners of petrol pumps in town are not entirely responsible for the booming sell of fuel in the black market, they cannot be let off the hook easily either, a motorist said.

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