ALL but one of the 24 Unipet gas stations were closed on Thursday following the announcement by Paria Fuel Trading that its supply of fuel would be cut.
A well-placed source told Newsday that on Thursday evening, only one station remained open and it would run out of fuel in a matter of hours. The source did not say which station.
Petroleum Dealers' Association president Robindranath Naraynsingh told Newsday in a telephone interview, the closure of some of the stations has been causing a real panic. He stressed that not only the company 600 employees will be directly affected but the contract workers and daily-paid workers would be out of work.
"Gas station business is the driving force of our economy. The closures disrupt business, the private sector, leisure travelling, the wait time at other gas stations and will deeply affect the society."
He said the situation could have been handled a bit better.
"It is unfair for a lot of gas station dealers who are sitting on sidelines and watching their operations diminish before very eyes. They cannot serve customers built up over the years. To come to an abrupt end like this is very unsettling."
Naraynsingh said he wished that the dealers had never been put in such a position.
"I hope we learn from these lessons and a lot of thought would go into a situation like this before it escalates into something more dramatic like this.
Paria, in a statement on Tuesday, said it had decided to cut Unipet’s fuel supply because the company had failed to renegotiate a supply agreement since April 2019. It also said Unipet had defaulted on payments for September and October 2019 deliveries.