There were long queues at the few filling stations in the city yesterday where petrol was available. They had to wait hours to get their tanks filled. Some motorists were disgusted and drove off.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the Government to reduce the retail price of a litre of petrol from Rs. 122.00 to Rs. 100.00 with effect from midnight on Wednesday on petition filed before the Court challenging the price structure.
The Cabinet on Wednesday evening decided to defer the Supreme Court order. It was to meet again yesterday.
Several filling station managers told The Island yesterday that they had stopped ordering fresh stocks until the correct position on the price of a litre on petrol was known.
Kotahena Central Lanka Service Station (Pvt) Ltd. Spokesman S. Fernando told The Island that irrespective of the price structure they would continue to place fresh orders and sell at the prevailing price.
A policeman, not from the Kotahena Police Station drove in car and sought priority to pump petrol for both cars.
Hundreds of others in the queue were agitated over the cop s behaviour and hooted and jeered at him, questioning whether this was democracy. However the constable replied that the vehicle belonged to an important Government Department and that was why he sought priority.
Many motorists were of the view that petrol should be made available even at the old price without inconveniencing the public and blamed the filling station owners for being interested only in their profits.