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Feature: Gas shortage hit Egyptian cities (2)

(Xinhua)

09:49, January 17, 2012

The increase of cars around Egypt raised the demand for petrol, but the gas stations' share from their headquarters was not changed, said the official. There were also rumors claiming that the crisis happened because somebody wanted to curb the mass demonstrations on Jan. 25 to mark the anniversary of the fall of former President Hosni Mubarak.

"There are also rumors saying that petrol supplies are short and fuel prices will be increased," said the official.

Hemdan Nour el-Din, a consultant engineer company in Alexandria, blamed the crisis on the lack of supervision. Without sufficient supervision, some business tycoons tried to buy huge quantities of gasoline and sell it at much higher prices.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Kamal el-Ganzouri's government denied the shortage of supply, vowing that the government had no intention at all to increase the prices of gasoline and diesel within the coming stage.

The quantity of fuel available in the market was more than required and hence there was no crisis, said Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Fayza Abul-Naga.

The government was coordinating efforts to end the gasoline and butane gas crisis, official news agency MENA quoted Minister of Local Development Mohamed Ahmed Attiyah as saying.

He said that the government was taking all necessary measures to extinguish the black market, vowing to punish all stations that refuse to sell in Egypt.

Despite clarifications from the government, protests were organized on Monday night outside the cabinet premises, leading the nearby Salah Salem street to be completely crammed with vehicles.

Lorry drivers have also been protesting outside Al-Azhar University, creating traffic congestion in Cairo's Heliopolis, Ring Road, October Bridge and May 15 Bridge, causing a complete standstill in the east of the city, MENA reported.

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