Colombo: In a temporary sigh of relief, a ship carrying 40,000 tonnes of diesel under a $1 billion credit line given to Sri Lanka by India has reached the island nation. The fuel will be distributed across Sri Lanka this evening.
The nation of 22 million people is in the grips of its worst downturn since independence, sparked by an acute lack of foreign currency to pay for even the most essential imports.
Diesel -- the main fuel for buses and commercial vehicles -- was unavailable at stations across the island, according to officials and media reports -- crippling public transport.
Owners of private buses -- which account for two-thirds of Sri Lanka's fleet -- said they were already out of oil and that even skeleton services might not be possible after today.
In Colombo, about half of the petrol pumps have been shut due to fuel shortage.
Besides the 40,000 tonnes of diesel, the Lanka IOC has also supplied 6000 MT of fuel to the Ceylon Electricity Board to generate electricity. Lank IOC is a subsidiary of Indian Oil Corporation (IOC). The fuel has been supplied to the Kerawalapitiya Power Plant in Sri Lanka which has was shut down recently due to lack of fuel.
Sri Lanka's President Gotabaya Rajapaksa declared a state of emergency on Friday, giving sweeping powers to security forces a day after hundreds tried to storm his house in anger over the unprecedented economic crisis.
Mr Rajapaksa invoked the tough laws allowing the military to arrest and detain suspects for long periods without trial as demonstrations calling for his ouster spread across the island nation.