Colombo, Sri Lanka – Mothers, taxi drivers, health workers and many other Sri Lankans are raising serious concerns over the government’s announcement that fuel imports will be restricted for another 12 months.“Life is already so difficult, everything is so expensive and everything has changed. How can we cope with this for another 12 months?” Sumika Perera, a mother of two from the northern town of Kurunegala, told Al Jazeera on Tuesday.
Perera, who heads a Women’s Resource Centre, a non-governmental organisation in Kurunegala, said in addition to her anxiety about her two sons being forced to wait for hours in fuel queues, it was very stressful to listen to the stories of other women as part of her work.
Perera’s husband is a heart patient and cannot queue for fuel.
“I can’t continue my fieldwork on women any more as field officers have no means of transport. Transport cost and food prices have already gone up by three to four times,” she said.
“Tuk-tuk drivers would ask you any amount they wish. Not only that, bus fares have gone up, you can’t get into a bus – they all are packed.”
Several people have been killed following scuffles in the fuel queues. There are also reports of the wealthy and powerful bypassing the queues at fu …