At a time when Kashmir is grappling with restrictions, curfews and lockdowns in place for past more than a month, Jammu and Kashmir Government has allegedly ordered Oil Marketing Companies to stop supplies to the summer capital.
The move is likely to badly affect the operation of generators and equipment in the hospitals, and the movement of ambulances which serve as the lone facility of transport for injured and hospital employees amid curfew and restrictions in the summer capital.
The Kashmir Valley Petroleum Dealers Association- an amalgam of petroleum retailers and outlet owners in Kashmir- Thursday claimed that the OMCs have denied them supply "owing to the government direction to stop oil supply to Kashmir."
"All the three OMCs operating in Kashmir i.e. Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited, Indane Oil Corporation Limited and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited from yesterday morning denied us supplies," said spokesperson of KVPDA Bilal Ahmad said.
"Today, while the HP Oil depot at Pampore provided 18 tankers of petrol for Army and Leh region, it denied supplies to Kashmir," Ahmad said.
He said: "The BP depot owner said he has closed down his depot due to Raksha Bandhan festival, HP and Indian Oil depot owners said they have shut due to technical snag in their machines."
"We came to know from reliable sources in the OMCs that the government has ordered them to stop supplies to Kashmir," he said.
"On an average during these days, we were importing around 6 lakh litres of petroleum which is mainly consumed by hospitals," he said, adding that the major buyer of petrol these days is hospitals.
"Besides, the fuel outlets are not operating during day. They open their outlets during the relaxation hours only for the people who are in dire need to buy petrol," he said, adding that if the government now wants to even stop supplies to these pumps, it would add to the chaos.
To mention, oil companies, HP, BP and IOC have their depots at Sempora and Kadlabal in Pampore town in Pulwama district. "The depot owners have refused the petrol pump owners here the fuel supply from yesterday morning," he said.
Meanwhile , a local news gathering agency while quoting Minister for Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution, Choudhary Zulfikar Ali said: "We have not asked Oil depot owners to stop supplying fuel to the dealers. But if any official is found involved in issuing such order, we will take him to task."