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Situation limps back to normal day after petrol pumps in Punjab see panic-buying

The situation was normalising at petrol pumps on Wednesday in Punjab where fuel supplies were being replenished with fresh stocks, a day after people resorted to panic buying amid truckers’ strike.

With normal fuel supply being restored in Chandigarh, the Union Territory administration withdrew fuel rationing directions with immediate effect on Wednesday afternoon.

In another development, a group of truck drivers tried to stage a protest against stricter punishments in the new law on hit-and-run cases. They tried to park their trucks on the National Highway in Ludhiana near Dhandari.

The protesters also raised slogans against the central government. However, the blockade was immediately cleared.

Sandeep Wadhera, Assistant Commissioner of Police, said that after persuasion and explaining to the protesters that blocking traffic on the National Highway was an offence and if they did not lift it, legal action would be taken against them, they voluntarily lifted the blockade.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, long queues of motorists were witnessed at many places in Punjab and a few parts of Haryana over fears that stocks would run dry soon in the wake of truckers’ strike against stricter punishments in the new law on hit-and-run cases.

Later in the evening, authorities in some Punjab districts had said the truckers had called off their strike and urged people not to resort to panic buying.

In Union Territory Chandigarh, too, where the administration had on Tuesday ordered rationing of fuel to two- and four-wheelers with immediate effect until normalcy was restored, fuel supplies were reaching the petrol pumps as before, officials said.

In the wake of this, the Chandigarh DM withdrew the restrictions with immediate effect, said an official statement here.

“This development comes as efforts to resume the supply of fuel to UT Chandigarh have been successful, thanks to the coordinated efforts with oil marketing companies and the states of Punjab and Haryana,” the statement said.

Secretary general of the Punjab Petroleum Dealers Association Rajesh Kumar, said, “The situation is normalising now and by evening supplies from depots to all fuel pumps should reach as before. Already, fuel supplies from the depots have started reaching several filling stations.”     He said no long queues like Tuesday were being witnessed at petrol pumps on Wednesday in the state.

The administration in various districts took proactive measures and also tried to resolve things at local level, which has helped the situation return to normalcy, he said.

On Tuesday evening, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla had said the decision to invoke the new hit-and-run cases-related penal provision, which has sparked protests by truckers, will be taken only after consultation with the All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC).

Meanwhile, no long queues were being seen at petrol pumps in Haryana, unlike yesterday when people in some parts of the state, including Panchkula and Ambala, had rushed to fuel pumps.

On Tuesday, the Punjab Government had appealed to the public not to resort to panic buying of fuel, assuring them of the availability of adequate stocks.

Under the Bharatiya Nyay Sanhita, set to replace the Indian Penal Code, drivers who cause serious road accidents due to negligent driving and run away without informing authorities face up to 10 years in prison or a fine of Rs 7 lakh.

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