In the third week of last month, there was some sort of panic over the non availability of petroleum products at most fuel stations in Jammu and Kashmir. There was an extraordinary rush at the fuel stations which led to various kinds of rumours, more so in the Valley.
While many fuel stations ran dry, some for a few days, the government intervention, and assurance of local administration that there is no fuel shortage, and subsequent continuous supply of petrol and diesel, led to calming the situation.
Such fear is not something new to Kashmir. On a number of occasions earlier also, the Kashmir Valley witnessed some sort of panic over the fuel shortage.
Given the fact that some fuel stations ran dry last month even though there was no ‘shortage’, reviewing the stock position by the top officers as regards the uninterrupted availability is a must. This is exactly what the Chief Secretary, Dr. Arun Kumar Mehta, did on July 13. He reviewed the stock position of Petroleum Products at a meeting attended by the Financial Commissioner (ACS), Home, Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Commissioner Secretary, Food, Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs and IGP, Traffic, J&.
Taking into account the increase in the air traffic at the Srinagar International Airport as a sequel to busier tourist season this year as well as the Hajj flights, the Chief Secretary stressed on the need to strengthen the stock position of the Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) to meet the rising demand.
During the meeting, the Chief Secretary was also apprised about the stock position of other petroleum products including LPG, etc. It was informed that the stocks of all items are being maintained at desirable level and are adequate, according to an official statement. The importance of having adequate fuel resources cannot be overemphasized.
Non-availability of fuel can adversely affect the normal routines of life as people cannot commute to their destinations including places of work and back home.
The government has taken the right steps recently from timely banning people from taking the fuel in cans. The thronging of large number of people with cans to get petrol at times adds to chaotic situations and it becomes difficult to handle not only at fuel stations but on the adjacent roads also. The ban on right time also prevented hoarders to stock up fuel for future black marketing of the same. While the government has taken steps in the right direction, it must ensure enough and timely stocks to prevent the situation from reaching a position when people get panicked.