ISLAMABAD - Inept policies and slack response of concerned authorities have aggravated the petroleum products shortage in the country and despite claims by the government to manage it by the end of current month the crisis would likely stretch beyond it. Shallow policies coupled with administrative failure of the concerned authorities have aggravated the petroleum shortage in the country so far, ostensibly seems oil crisis to persist for many days despite tall claims by the government to end the crisis by this month. It was learnt that dealers and Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) after deregulation are cartelizing to build pressure on cash-starved incumbent government to raise margins of POL products by exploiting the situation of petroleum shortage and they felt it as an ideal time to reap the benefit. According to Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources, total requirement of petrol was 200,000 tonnes per month. Local production is 60,000 tonnes while 140,000 tonnes are imported. Attock Refinery (ARL) produces 18,000 tonnes of petrol per month. 'The petrol crisis was aggravated due to earlier closure of the plat-former of Attock Refinery (ARL) which meets 16 per cent of petrol requirements and burgeoning circular debt, but non-maintenance of fuel stocks by some OMCs played the main role alongwith the absence of strict monitoring, official sources said requesting anonymity, adding, that the government could not take strict measures against OMCs as they had already invested their hefty amount in oil market of Pakistan inspite of ever soaring circular debt issue. The hasty deregulation of oil prices policy of the govt has forced the OMCs to stop importing PoL products, sources said, adding, that absence of strategic reserves of oil for 14 to 20 days to tackle the petrol crisis had added salt to masses injuries. Ijaz Chaudhry Secretary Petroleum while talking to The Nation informed that gallop tenders were opened by the end of May to fill the gap after the ARL intimation of annual shutdown for repairing. However, during first week of June, ARL informed about its sudden breakdown, which worsened the situation, he said. Replying to a question, he informed that on June 9 first consignment of 35,000 MT has reached the country and is already on its way from Karachi to Punjab, AJK and GB. 'A delivery of 50,000 MT is likely to reach at 10.30 am on Thursday (today) in Karachi port which will take three to four days as witnessed in past for the upcountry movement, he added. Similarly, on June 23rd, another shipment of 35,000 MT and 35,000 MT of fourth consignment will reach the country to help to end the prevailing crisis of petrol in the country, he said. 'Total 190,000 tons of petrol would be imported this month, Ijaz said, adding, that as many as four ships would berth in Karachi. It is testimony of the facts that two factors played a key role in creating shortage of petrol in Pakistan. As small OMCs had no storage capacity and big OMCs had stopped importing oil after the deregulation of trade due to Rs 4 to Rs 7 per litre Price Differential Claims (PDCs). Similarly, ARL had kept the Ministry in the dark and dodging senior officials about the exact date of closure of the plat-former, which produces motor spirit (petrol). As the ARL management had informed the DG Oil on May 20 that it would close down the plat-former on June 20, but it suddenly shut down the plat-former on June 1. It is to note that according to details, Admore owns eight outlets in AJK, but has nothing to sell, right now. Hascol has three outlets, Ootcl one, and Bosicar four, but none of them have any stock to sell just now. But the government had cancelled licences of only four OMCs for their failure to maintain 20 days petrol stocks. These are Admore, Hascol, Ootcl and Bosicor. 'We have also found out that in the past there were some oil marketing companies that were given licences to operate, without binding them to follow the rules and regulations of Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA),sources said, adding,whenever the country met with any crisis or emergency then the government machinery appeared on the surface with bundle of measures and policy guidelines to end the emergency like situations. What is the need of all paraphernalia if crisis has to mock the nation already hard pressed with soaring inflation and energy outages? sources questioned.