Petrol is now available to private car owners in the Laotian capital of Vientiane for the first time since petrol stations were closed in November because of a petrol shortage.
GV Vientiane street scene
GV & MV Ministry of Public Works.. people running to side entrance (2 shots)
MV People leaving with coupons
MV People being issued with petrol coupons
CU PULL OUT MV Crowd selling coupons to black marketeer
MV People collecting coupons, PAN TO Ministry sign
GV PAN Black marketeers
MV Black marketeers hand around coupons (2 shots)
GV Petrol station
MV People served with petrol and handing in coupons (4 shots)
LV Black market petrol station on roadside (3 shots)
Initials BB/1925 DE/DK/BB/1955
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Background: Petrol is now available to private car owners in the Laotian capital of Vientiane for the first time since petrol stations were closed in November because of a petrol shortage. The shortage was attributed to the closing of the border between Laos and Thailand on 18 November after a military clash.
The border was reopened on 1 January, 1976 and the following day goods began to flow into Laos again.
Until then truck convoys of foodstuff and petroleum products were sent from North Vietnam and various other items were flown in from the Soviet Union. It's also believed that an East German 'plane, loaded with ten tons of items operated a two-week ferry service to Laos.
The Laos Government has instituted a rationing system for petrol, because it is still in short supply. There are three centres in the capital where the coupons can be obtained after vehicle registration papers and a driver's licence is produced. Initially the drivers are allowed 10 litres a week for a car and five litres for motorcycles.
The black market on petrol was still operating last week, and many people were seen blatantly selling their coupons to the marketeers near to the Ministry of Public Works where they had been obtained.
The black marketeers had set up roadside stalls selling petrol, but the police have started clamping down and the number of markets has been reduced.
SYNOPSIS: Private motorists in Laos can buy petrol again for the first time since a shortage of petrol closed service stations in November. But the Government has instituted a rationing system and drivers must be issued with coupons for the petrol.
Three dispensing centres have been set up, and to be issued with the coupons, the drivers must produce their registration papers and driving licence. Initially the system was subject to a blatant black market and many sold their coupons to the marketeers. Police have since clamped down and much of the black marketing has disappeared.
The shortage was caused when the border between Laos and Thailand was closed on November the eighteenth after a military clash. It was re-opened on January the first, but until then Laos had gone without many essential supplies.
The traffic on the streets of Vientiane was halved and now the drivers are allowed ten litres a week for a car and five litres a week for motorcycles. Even now the flow of petrol across the border is not as much as it had been before the border was closed.