After three dry days, Chennai to get petrol and diesel today

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Chennai:  Many offices in Chennai allowed employees on Tuesday to work from their homes because petrol pumps remained closed for the third day in a row. It should be back to work tomorrow for the city - Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has announced that three ships carrying 67,000 kilo-litres of petrol and diesel have arrived in Chennai; 2000 kilo-litres of diesel have come by road from Bangalore.  

The reason for the pumps drying up over the last 48 hours had been attributed by officials to "no supplies from oil companies." Two major refineries in the state - MRPL & CPCL - saw unplanned shutdowns in April for almost a month and over a week respectively.

A handful of gas stations that were open for business this morning witnessed chaotic scenes and imposed a quota of a litre per motorist.  

The steepest petrol hike ever for the country led petrol prices to shoot up by over Rs 7.50 per litre starting Thursday last week.  The AIADMK is slated to stage a demonstration against the hike across Tamil Nadu today and the DMK will hold its protest on Wednesday. Meanwhile, it's not the hike but the scarcity of petrol that has left people in Chennai worried.

On the day of the announcement of the hike, many bunks ran out of stock of diesel. By the end of last week, a good number of bunks were selling only premium petrol at Rs 80 a litre, effectively taking the hike to over Rs 11, temporarily.

Samuel Rajkumar, a driver fumed this morning, "I stood in the queue for three hours from 5 am. At 8 am I got diesel for Rs 500. When I asked if I could get some more, I was told to go back to the end of the queue."

Quite like the mad rush for application forms for school admission, many motorists particularly auto drivers and others made a beeline at pumps before the crack of dawn for a few litres.

"Are the oil companies playing mind games with us? Create an artificial scarcity so that we would think its ok to shell out more as long as we get to fill our tanks" asked another irate customer.


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