CHANDIGARH: About 50 retail outlets of Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) across Punjab have run out of their supply of diesel. The shortage of diesel supply has hit fuel dealers at a time when the demand for the fuel peaks in the agricultural sector with the harvesting season on in full swing.
HPCL fuel station dealers in the districts of Sangrur, Patiala, Mohali, Ludhiana and Barnala said they were facing an acute shortage of diesel for the past two days. Indents sent by the dealers to the HPCL depot in Sangrur are reportedly not being honoured on account of the supply constraints faced by the company there. Fuel retail outlet owners in parts of Jalandhar, Nawanshahr, Amritsar and Gurdaspur, too, have reported a shortfall in supply by the HPCL depot in Jalandhar.
An HPCL retail outlet owner in Samana told TNS though he sent in his indent of 20 kilolitres of diesel on Monday to the Sangrur depot he had not managed to get any supply. “By tomorrow morning, my outlet will run dry of diesel, and I’ll suffer a big loss in business,” he said.
While admitting the company was facing supply side constraints, a senior HPCL official told The Tribune the reason for the shortfall in supply was that the rival fuel marker — Indian Oil Corp (IOC) — had restricted its supply to the HPCL depots from its Panipat terminal.
“Over the past two days, IOC has been supplying just two-third of the total requirement of diesel by HPCL inPunjab. For the month of April, we’ve received just 50% of our requirement from IOC at the Sangrur terminal. Oil marketing companies have a well established arrangement by which the company having its terminal in the region, supplies to the other two oil marketing companies. We take supplies from IOC in Punjab, and we give them the supplies in the western and southern regions,” a senior HPCL official said, requesting anonymity.
IOC officials, however, denied they were restricting diesel supply to HPCL depots. “We’re supplying the diesel to HPCL as per our sharing arrangement. A responsible company like IOC will not cause any inconvenience to the public. The problem of shortfall in supply could be a result of HPCL’s own failure in supply and distribution,” said a top IOC official.
On an average, the monthly demand for diesel in Punjab at present is 260,000 kilolitres — up by 30% than during the lean months, because of high demand in agriculture sector. HPCL officials said that they are now trying to contain the situation by rationalizing the supply from its Bathinda depot, which is connected through a rail head from the HPCL terminal. “We are hopeful of salvaging the situation within a day or two,” he added.