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China funeral parlour stops cremations amid diesel shortage

File image.
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Nov 20, 2010
A nationwide shortage of diesel forced a Chinese funeral parlour to suspend cremations last week after it ran out of the fuel needed for three furnaces, state media reported.

Longxing Funeral Parlour in the southwestern mega-city of Chongqing stopped cremating bodies last Sunday after using up the last of its diesel reserves, the Chongqing Evening News reported this week.

Funeral parlour director Zhou Qian was quoted as saying 10 bodies due to be cremated last weekend had to be "put back in the freezer", affecting the families' funeral arrangements.

The funeral parlour was able to fire up its furnaces in recent days after local media reports prompted Sinopec, Asia's biggest oil refiner, to boost diesel supplies to the city, the report said.

State media has described the nationwide diesel shortage as "unprecedented", causing the closure of many petrol stations and long queues of vehicles waiting to refill their tanks.

The shortage has been blamed on local governments, seeking to meet the nation's ambitious emission-reduction targets, cutting electricity to some factories, forcing them to use diesel generators to continue production.

Beijing on Wednesday ordered diesel supplies be increased as it announced guidelines aimed at ensuring stable prices and supplies of key products such as vegetables, grain and coal in response to growing fears over rising food costs.

Sinopec has agreed to suspend diesel exports to ease shortages in the domestic market and was seeking to import 200,000 tonnes of the fuel, Xinhua said Saturday.

PetroChina, the country's top oil producer, also plans to import 200,000 tonnes of diesel. Some 35,000 tonnes of it has already arrived, it said.

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