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Sri Lanka’s Economic Crisis Deepens, Sale of Petroleum Fuel Restricted

This is the worst economic crisis that is being faced by Sri Lanka. Stories about the crisis and commodity shortage have been doing rounds in news around the world for many days.

Statesman News Service | New Delhi |

Economic crises in Sri Lanka: Sale of petroleum fuel has been restricted in the island nation Sri Lanka. The fuel is only available for sale to vehicles carrying out essential services. Earlier, on Sunday the authorities were issuing tokens to people to avail fuel refilling at petrol stations. This method proved to be ineffective in managing the masses.  The adverse step has been taken by the government as the country is running out of its petroleum reserve, . Besides, the authorities have also ordered the schools to shut down and have urged the people to work from home.

The new notification remains in effect for the upcoming fortnight and future course of action would be decided henceforth. As of now, only the vehicles carrying out active duty of essential services would be allowed to get fuel refills from the petrol stations. These vehicles include ambulances, food supply vehicles and defense forces vehicles. The notification is effective from midnight, Monday.

Cabinet spokesperson and the country’s Transport Minister, Bandula Gunawardana, held a press conference on Monday. He announced that private vehicles across the country would not be allowed to buy fuel till July 10th. He further assured that the government would ensure regular supply of fuel after this fortnight. Buses plying between cities and provinces have been stopped and the government is urging the masses to work from home in order to save fuel.

The schools have been ordered to shut down until further orders. This is the worst economic crisis that is being faced by Sri Lanka. Stories about the crisis and commodity shortage have been doing rounds in news around the world for many days. The fuel shortage shows the further worsening of the economic condition of the nation. Roads and markets across the country bore an empty view. Queues of parked vehicles could be seen across the streets. Capital Colombo looked completely deserted in absence of vehicles  on Tuesday.

Mr. Bandula Gunawardana, also apologized to the citizens of the country and regretted the inconvenience caused to the people. The country has been witnessing a lot of protests in the recent past. The condition has been in turmoil, ever since the economic crisis worsened. Inflation level in the country hit an all time high. Power supply has been hit and there have been lengthy blackouts. Government had shut down schools since last week and the state run offices were running with minuscule presence of staff. These measures were taken to control the situation and prevent undue movement of people. The authorities were hopeful of a relief, but things took a turn for the worse.

The country is reeling under the economic meltdown. A few days ago, the United Nations had to intervene in the form of an emergency response plan. The program was aimed at providing food and medical assistance to pregnant women of the country. The UN had published reports which showed that four out of five citizens of Sri Lanka are skipping meals as they cannot afford to eat. The UN had also warned of a “dire humanitarian crisis” that was inevitable and gripping the island nation.

Sri Lanka is in talks with Russia and Qatar for securing a regular supply of petroleum. It is also to be noted here that Sri Lanka had faltered on a repayment of foreign debt of $51 billion, in April this year. It is still in talks with the International Monetary Fund, for a relief in the form of a bailout package. The government is hopeful that the bailout package, if accessed, would help the nation overcome its economic meltdown.