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ISLAMABAD: Since Eidul Azha, the number of tourists in the scenic Northern Areas of the country has increased dramatically especially the popular hill station of Swat, where most of the filling stations are reportedly out of fuel stocks.

The huge number of visitors pouring into Swat and adjoining areas during the current Eid holidays has put strain on existing infrastructure and caused the demand for fuel to soar.

According to reports, thousands of vehicles are present in the area with many running low on fuel.

Keeping the seamless supply of fuel, oil marketing companies (OMCs) are trying in dealing with the current spike in fuel demand in the area.

Thousands of tourists thronging the picturesque Kalam valley in Swat had to face the worst road blockades and traffic jams and fuel shortages, on Matta-Bahrain and Bahrain-Kalam roads since Friday.

It took 12 to 14 hours for the tourists from various cities to cover the 35 kilometers distance between Bahrain and Kalam.

Most of them spent the night in vehicles on the road and massive fuel shortage was observed, according to an eye witness.

When contacted spokesman Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA), Imran Ghaznavi said, "During Eid holidays unprecedented traffic was observed however, OGRA enforcement worked throughout holidays ensuring the availability of stock".

He said there was not petrol shortages in the region as oil marketing companies had doubled their supply and stock to cater to the need of visiting tourists in the region.

The residents of far-flung areas said that most of the public transport vehicles also remained off road when petrol "disappeared" from the filling stations.

People faced difficulties in reaching their offices and educational institutes, they added.

"I drove my car to the filling station but found no fuel there and had to go back home. I then walked five kilometres as there was no public transport. At last, I found an overcrowded passenger van," said Waheed Iqbal, a resident of Islamabad on phone.

However, the worst sufferers of the petrol shortage were students who are in Swat and Naran Kaghan whose examination were in progress.

"Due to the shortage of petrol, I left for the college quite early in the morning to find public transport but could not find to go back to Rawalpindi," a student of FA, Ahmed told Business Recorder.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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