As oil cos cut off fuel supply to them

Our Bureau

Mumbai, Nov. 16

Operations of a large number of coastal vessels and barges in Maharashtra have come to a standstill with oil companies cutting off fuel supply to them. This follows an order from the State Government asking oil companies not to supply furnace oil (FO) and light diesel oil (LDO) to bulk consumers without a licence. According to oil company officials, the Controller of Rationing and Director of Civil Supplies had called a meeting of all oil companies on November 8 and told them that "no supplies of FO and LSD will be made in the State unless the consumer and the intermediary, if any, has a valid licence under Solvent, Raffinate and Slop (Acquisition, Sales, Storage and Prevention of Use in automobiles) Order, 2000."

Rationing Order

Since this order was never made applicable to ships, no shipping company has the licence from the State Rationing Department to buy fuels. All oil companies have stopped supply of fuel to ships without a licence at Mumbai Port and JN Port in the last three days, said an oil company official.

"The State Government's sudden decision put all costal operators in a spot. The Rationing Order was never made applicable to us. We have stopped operation of many of our vessels," said Mr Sarvesh Shahi, Chairman of SKS (Ships) Ltd. Some vessels have gone to Gujarat port to fill their bunker.

Meanwhile, oil companies have taken up the matter with the State and the Union Government seeking an exemption for coastal ships from the rationing order.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated November 17, 2006)
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