Health Care

Sri Lankan motorists line up to buy gasoline amid shortage

A Sri Lankan minister was forced Monday to apologise for a fuel shortage that has seen long queues form at gas stations and forced many commuters to leave their cars at home.

Petroleum Minister Arjuna Ranatunga said in a statement Saturday that the distribution of gasoline to pumping stations was decreased because an imported shipment had to be rejected because it was substandard.

Reports of a fuel shortage arose after a petroleum import by Lanka OIC was turned back due to a failure to meet adequate standards. Another shipment is expected to arrive on Wednesday, he said. Gasoline is used mostly for cars, motorcycles and the country's ubiquitous tuk-tuk taxis. The situation forced many commuters to turn to public transport, which was unaffected as it mostly runs on diesel.

Ranatunga said that LIOC should have made arrangements for an alternative shipment which they had not done.

LIOC said in a statement late night that it caters to only 16 percent of country's fuel supply and has ordered a 15 thousand MT of petrol from India to meet the crisis.

The Indian Oil Company's subsidiary in Sri Lanka has dismissed as "mischievous and factually incorrect" the allegations that it was responsible for the fuel shortage in the island nation.

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