Clashes over butane continue in provinces

The ongoing shortage of butane gas cylinders in the provinces resulted in more protests and clashes Tuesday, amid soaring local butane prices. The price of one gas cylinder in the Delta city of Daqahlia, for example, reached LE12–a full three times its official price of LE4.

In the Matareya district of the capital, three women were injured in clashes over limited butane supplies. In the Delta city of Talkha, meanwhile, more than 500 people and hundreds of cars lined up–for a full three days in some instances–to buy gas cylinders.

"I have to wait for days at the factory to get 50 cylinders, while the big dealers get as many as they want," complained local gas dealer Hussein el-Said. "And there’s no supervision whatsoever by the Supply Ministry."

According to butane supply station manager Adel Abul Enein, the crisis was precipitated by public-sector natural gas company Petrojet. "Petrojet failed to increase our local butane supply by 25 percent, which usually happens just before demand soars in the winter season," Abul Enein said.

In the Upper Egyptian Minya province, meanwhile, residents of the village of Bani Khaled–home to some 15,000 inhabitants–sent an official complaint to President Hosni Mubarak urging him to personally intervene to resolve the issue.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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