Police begin probe into fuel scarcity
Police to round up all oil tankers and take them in future convoys

Source: Hueiyen News Service

Imphal, June 12 2010: Seriously concerned why petrol and diesel are still scarce in the state despite so many oil tankers having brought the same to Imphal under security escort on the National Highway-53 at least five times, Manipur Police have begun probing into the forced scarcity of petroleum products.

At the same time, police would round up all the oil tankers and make them join the convoy starting from next trip, and action will be taken against those tanker-owners who refuse to go, according to a highly informed police source.

The source revealed to this newspaper that police are trying to find out the real causes of the scarcity of petrol and diesel at the filling stations.

Oil tankers have brought petrol and diesel to Imphal under security escort not less than five times during the past 21 days since May 22 last.

As per data compiled from Hueiyen Lanpao reports, at least, 160 oil tankers have brought petrol and diesel to Manipur in five trips.

On the other hand, according to reports received from police tonight, at least 2209 loaded trucks have arrived in Imphal so far starting from May 21 last.

Out of them, there were 289 oil tankers and 79 LPG bullet tankers.

But petrol and diesel are being issued to the consumers on rationing at the filling stations.

What has been nagging the police the most is the question why, among several hundred trucks which formed the convoys in each of the five trips, were there very less number of oil tankers? (See chart) Reliable reports say that there are about 420 oil tankers in Manipur that carry petrol and diesel.

While other goods trucks joined the convoys in large number, very less number of oil tankers was taken along in each trip.

Suspicious questions arise: Why only a few out of over 400 oil tankers are taken along in each trip on NH-53? Where are the remaining oil tankers? Are they all being kept in Assam or being hidden in the state? While other goods trucks join each convoy in large number willingly, why aren't most of the oil tankers, if not all, coming forward or allowed to join the convoys? Is there a tacit understanding between the Department of Consumer Affairs and Food and Public Distribution and the IOC not to allow the oil tankers to transport the fuel as they used to be before the blockade, and while plying the National Highway-39 without security escort? Police are aiming at probing into all these questions.

Meanwhile, other sources expressed scepticism on why less number of oil tankers was being sent on NH-53 to bring petrol and diesel saying that it could be because they can't get opportunity to siphon oil and mix it with kerosene or other oil or chemical on the way as the vehicles are now under security escort.