ISLAMABAD - Either due to long Eid vacations or a government strategy to puncture protests and sit-ins announced by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and Pakistan Awami Tehreek, petrol supply to fuel stations in Punjab continued to be thin on Wednesday.

According to sources the fuel supply in Punjab has been reduced to half of the normal level, creating a shortage of commodity. Shiekh Nadim, a fuel station owner of Bahawalpur told The Nation that petrol supplies were very thin in the area.

“Today (Wednesday) we received only 80,000 litters of petrol at Shershah Depot, Multan, which is even less than half of the demand of the area,” said a source. He said Shershah depot supplies fuel to a vast area of Multan, Bahawalpur and Rahimyar khan.

He said daily sale of fuel at stations lies between 3,000 litters to 8,000 litres a day, depending on the location of the station. He said in Bahawalpur division alone the number of fuel stations was around 150, and 80,000 litres was not even sufficient for these pumps.

The fuel supplies in Gilgit too were remained thin and petrol pump owners were not selling petrol more than five litres per car. Petrol shortage from some parts of twin cities was also reported and people queued up to get petrol at stations situated inside the capital.

Smooth petrol supply was reported from Peshawar and other parts of KPK on Wednesday but it was learnt that fuel owners there were mulling to create an artificial shortage of petrol to sell it in black market. While the Shershah depot near Multan is almost dry, the nearby Mehmood Kot depot continues to supply to KPK abundantly. Also, there is no curtailment of gas in KPK and CNG is available round the clock.

Ministry of Petroleum spokesperson said that he has checked with PSO and no problem was reported from anywhere in the country. Analysts believe that if petrol shortage continued, the filling stations would be dry in next couple of days, which may pose serious troubles to march plans of PTI and PAT. Both these parties have announced to hold major protests in Islamabad on 14th August to force the government to step down.

According to the aforesaid source, in last week of Ramazan fuel supplies from Depots shrunk and now all the stations are receiving petrol half of their demand, he said. The OMC’s have fixed a supply quota for every pump according to its demand; for example, stations having 10,000 litres demand are receiving 4000 litres, he explained. He said that due to non-availability of CNG, the effect of petrol shortage is more severe.

CNG stations remained open during Eid holidays and due to uninterrupted supply of CNG, petrol shortage was not felt much, but after the holidays when CNG supply was suspended, people took to filling their vehicle tanks with petrol and this pressure dried up fuel stations, he explained. He however said there was no shortage of diesel in the province.

Shortage started in the last days of Ramadan, when trailer operators stopped running their vehicles to celebrate Eid with their families. Due to long holidays, gap between supply and demand increased,” said an official of Shershah depot, adding, in coming days supplies would be normal.