Now, Centre throws LPG cap surprise

‘Assures’ PDP Of Relaxing Lid On Subsidized Cylinders


Srinagar, Nov 16: In a surprising development, the Peoples Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti Friday said the Union Minister for Petroleum Veerapa Moily has said the Government of India was actively considering relaxing the cooking gas cylinder cap in case of Jammu and Kashmir. The move has taken many political observers by surprise, especially in the wake of the fact that the Government of India has so far been noncommittal to the J&K Government over the issue. Even Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had earlier written a letter to then petroleum minister S Jaipal Reddy requesting him to increase the number of subsidised gas cylinders to the state.  However, after Reddy was shifted to another ministry, Omar’s letter was presented to new Petroleum Minister M Veerappa Moily, with no action on the communication so far.
Pertinently, with eye on the 2014 Assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party is understood to have established a good rapport with 10 Janpath in New Delhi, of late. While the party patron Mufti Muhammad Sayeed and president Mehbooba Mufti reportedly met the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh in New Delhi last week, Mehbooba is also learnt to have interacted with the UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi during her fresh Delhi visit. The discussions in the meeting have reportedly been fruitful.
The Centre’s fresh assurance came when Mehbooba called on Moily in New Delhi. She was accompanied by MLA Pahalgam Muhammad Rafi Mir.
Mehbooba pleaded with the minister that Jammu and Kashmir could not be treated at par with other States in view of harsh climatic conditions prevailing here and the fact that most of the population has to face sub-zero temperatures for months together. She said in absence of alternative sources of fuel the cooking gas had become a tool of survival in J&K. “The fact that most of the hydro power generated in the State went into the national energy pool makes it all the more imperative that the cap of subsidized cylinders is raised at least to 12 per year,” Mehbooba told the minister.
The PDP president also urged the minister to set up two additional bottling plants for the valley in north and south Kashmir. The existing plants, she said, failed to cater to the requirements fully which was cited as a reason for the irrational decision of south Kashmir being linked to Jammu for gas supply. She told the minister this arrangement was extremely negative in view of the traffic congestion on Jammu-Srinagar highway and frequent blockades in winter months which is the peak season for gas consumption and demand.
Conveying her deep anguish to the minister at the severe shortage of cooking gas in the State, Mehbooba urged the minister to speed up the process of opening more counters at block level. She said the ‘inability’ of State Government to intervene positively in tackling the crisis had resulted in thriving black market. She informed the minister how a citizen had lost his life in his struggle for getting a gas cylinder which, she said, depicted the miserable conditions in the State with lines of the consumers getting longer every day. She told the minister that procurement of gas had become a painful process in the State especially in colder areas where temperatures had already dipped to zero.

Lastupdate on : Fri, 16 Nov 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 16 Nov 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 17 Nov 2012 00:00:00 IST

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