Page last updated at 15:59 GMT, Thursday, 8 January 2009

Double strike takes hold in India

Petrol shortage in Hyderabad
A petrol station in Hyderabad feels the pinch of the strike

Long queues have been forming outside petrol stations across India as more than 50,000 state-oil workers strike for more pay.

About 30% of petrol stations in the capital had run dry, officials said, with oil firms warning the supply situation could get worse.

Union leaders say no solution to the strike is in sight at the moment.

As an added headache for the government millions of lorry drivers are also on strike, affecting freight nationwide.

Flights delayed

The BBC's Chris Morris in Delhi says output at refineries and oil fields has been reduced and natural gas supplies have also been cut.

State-run firms control almost all of the energy sector.

Union leaders said there was little sign of a settlement.

Amit Kumar, the president of the Oil Sector Officers' Association, told Reuters news agency: "The government is very adamant. The minister is not willing to meet us."

Some flights from Mumbai airport were delayed because of slow refuelling.

The indefinite transport strike that began on Sunday has at least lessened the demand for diesel.

However, fruit and vegetable prices are beginning to rise as the drivers press their demands for cheaper fuel and an exemption from road tolls.

Our correspondent says that with general elections looming in the next few months the government will be keen to avoid a season of industrial discontent.

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