Butane crisis persists despite govt assaurances

Egypt's ongoing fuel crisis remains under control, Minister of Supply and Internal Trade, Gouda Abdel Khaleq, said on Monday. His statement came amid surging protests by citizens decrying shortages in butane gas cylinders.

In a report submitted to Prime Minister Kamal al-Ganzouri and obtained by Al-Masry Al-Youm, Abdel Khaleq said the crisis remains under control "especially after intensified inspections and control over butane cylinder stores and gas stations."

The minister added that the government has distributed extra cylinders. He revealed that the supply to Aswan has increased by 163 percent, Qena 155 percent, North Sinai 147 percent, Alexandria 138 percent and Kafr al-Sheikh 129 percent.

According to the report, Cairo and Luxor only obtained a few additional cylinders, as they have not witnessed the same degree of shortages as other governorates.

Meanwhile, the head of the ministry's distribution and control department, Fathy Abdel Aziz, said Abdel Khaleq had demanded that the attorney general expedite investigations into violations by owners of butane storage centers.

He said in press statements that the ministry immediately sends butane cylinders to areas witnessing shortages.

As the crisis went on in a number of governorates on Monday, citizens from the village of Salmiya, Kafr al-Sheikh, cut off the road connecting Fowa and Desouk cities in protest of the butane shortage.

In Fayoum, people queued outside storage centers to obtain butane cylinders.

In Minya’s Garnous village, protesters blocked a road for the same reason. They say that the supply is inadequate given the area's population.

In Ismailia Governorate, residents at Ezbet al-Warsha blocked the Ismailia-Zagazig road over soaring black market prices. They complained that the price for one cylinder ranges between LE30 and LE40. Security officials managed to convince the protesters to reopen the road.

Translated from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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