CHENNAI: Policemen had to be deployed at almost all operational petrol bunks in the city as the mad rush for fuel turned chaotic and proved to be too much for the staff to handle. People stood in long queues at petrol bunks, and at some places, customers were made to collect tokens and wait for their turns.
“I took me two hours get my tank filled,” said K Sugumar, one among the hundreds who queued up at the petrol bunk at Power House since Friday morning.
It’s not just for themselves, but some people badly needed the fuel to save others’ lives. “My father has a heart device that needs power to keep his heart beating. We live in Mugalivakkam and there hasn’t been any power there for three days. Our generator’s nearly dry and I have been hunting for diesel for several hours but no petrol bunk nearby has it. I just got a call saying that my driver managed to get some at the Shell bunk in Iyyapanthangal,” said Shruti Ramakrishnan.
It was one of the few bunks in the city that had stock on Friday and the crowd at the petrol bunk almost made it impossible for the traffic to cross the stretch. The crowd turned unmanageable and a couple of constables had to intervene.
Petrol dealers said the main reason for the chaos was the lack of connectivity to Ennore, Tondiarpet and other fuel supply terminals. “Even we haven’t received our supply. We only had stock of premium brand petrol,” said R Sekar, a staff at a petrol bunk at Anna Nagar.
But people didn’t mind paying the extra buck to get their vehicles running. “Everyone wants us to fill their tanks. But we are rationing it and not selling more than three litres to each person,” said another staff.
With their petrol tanks dry, some people had to walk for kilometres to get petrol. “There are only two petrol bunks open between Porur and Poonamallee. I walked all the way from Porur (to Kattupakkam) because there’s no petrol in my bike. Both the bunks were so crowded that I stood outside for an hour, but gave up once a fight broke out. I finally managed to get a litre from here after waiting for another hour. Now I need to walk four kilometres to get home,” said Ravi Kiran.