COPS TO SUPERVISE GAS DISTRIBUTION

Police Stations Will Monitor Supplies, Stocks Of Dealers

M HYDERI

Srinagar, Nov 7: Facing public censure for failing to overcome smoldering LPG crisis, the State Government has finally banked on police to tackle the situation in fuel-starved Kashmir. Now onwards, cops will not only supervise distribution of cooking gas cylinders but the offices of senior police officials will serve as the headquarters wherefrom the supplies and related affairs will be monitored.
Giving extra teeth to the police force, the Government has constituted a Task Force wherein cops have been empowered to be part to the LPG distribution affairs. The district police chief will be Task Force member while as offices of his zonal SPs will act as the headquarters. The other members of the Task Force include the District Development Commissioner, representatives of oil companies and Deputy Director CAPD.
To start with, the summer capital has taken a lead whereby by Senior Superintendent of Police Syed Ashiq Hussain Bukhari and his five zonal SPs will monitor and supervise the supplies along with some civil officials. At the lower level, each Police Station will look after the domestic gas distribution affairs.
Deputy Commissioner Srinagar Baseer Ahmed Khan vide a public notification published in local dailies Wednesday notified that the Task Force for Srinagar district has been constituted “consequent upon the orders passed by Hon’ble High Court of Jammu and Kashmir in OWP  (PIL) No. 12/2012 dated 2-11-2012, public in general V/S State.”
In the notification, the DC said the Task Force shall “supervise, monitor and ensure fair distribution of LPG in the entire Srinagar city.”
For monitoring and supervising the supplies in various areas, the DC said, Srinagar has been divided into Zones to be headed by the SPs viz: City North, City South, City East, City West and Hazratbal. The other Zonal officers include concerned Additional Deputy Commissioner, Tehsildar, Assistant Director CAPD and representatives of oil companies.
The Zones have been divided into Sectors whereby the concerned Police Station will act as the Sector Office and the SHO will be Sector Officer while some civil officials will share the charge.
“The Sector Officer shall be responsible for monitoring on day to day basis the supplies in the areas assigned to them and will resort to physical verification of stocks of LPG and its distribution at the dealer/respective outlet of the Food and Supplies/ Petrol Pump,” reads the order issued vide No. DCS/PS-PIL/12/5007-80 dated 3-11-2012.
“Sector Officer shall remain available at the Police Stations for effective surveillance and mobility in the areas. This order shall have immediate effect from the date of issuance,” the DC has said.
For past few years the State Government often banks on police on issues which would otherwise be in the domain of civil administration. Last year the Government empowered police to keep an eye on the attendance of Power Development Department officials triggering resentment from the staffers.
Eyebrows are being raised over the involvement of police in gas distribution. “Police interference will simply make the process more tedious and nobody will be able to raise voice against not getting his genuine supply,” said a Government employee, requesting not to be named.
On Monday, gas dealers alleged that ministers, bureaucrats and police officials force them to provide subsidized gas cylinders to them without any documents.
“At every distribution point, police officials take 20 to 30 subsidized gas cylinders from us without documents, we can’t do anything as we are helpless,” they said while protesting at the Press Enclave here.
Referring to large scale arrests of youth in the past years of summer unrests, many people alleged that police could exploit their role in gas distribution for their personal gains.
“At a time when even minors are detained under draconian PSA, what is the assurance that those crying to get their LPG share will be spared?” questioned a Kashmir University lecturer.

GROPING FOR SOLUTION:
Cornered over chaos in distribution of LPG cylinders, renewal, issuance of fresh connections and above all failure to get the cap relaxed on the subsidized cylinders, the National Conference-led Government tried many measures but none could bring respite for the Aam Aadmi.
While the Government has miserably failed to convince the Union Government to relax LPG cap in J&K given the unique climatic conditions unlike elsewhere in the country, the public resentment has been growing.
Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, who shed two his three gas connections recently following media reports, made it clear that there will be no relaxation on the LPG cap unless the State gets some kind of financial support from the Centre.
MLA Kulgam Muhammad Yousuf Tarigami has cautioned the Government that the gas crisis could snowball into a major law and order problem.

NC HAILS, PDP CONDEMNS:
National Conference spokesman Tanvir Sadiq said the police involvement was temporary and aimed to “streamline the LPG distribution system ahead of the fast approaching harsh winter so that people don’t face inconvenience.”
“I am sure it is a temporary arrangement till the issue is resolved. Very soon the home delivery will be streamlined and this arrangement will obviously be discontinued,” he said.
“This (new system) is aimed at giving relief to people and ensuring that they get LPG cylinders. It’ll ease the situation as police will lend a helping hand,” Sadiq told Greater Kashmir.
The PDP, however, ridiculed the decision saying it has “vindicated Government failure on every front.”
“This seems to be wartime exercise and eloquent commentary on the inability of this Government to deliver on any front,” said PDP spokesman Naeem Akhtar.
He said: “Nowhere in the country the cooking gas has disappeared except in J&K. We are clearly the most misgoverned State in the country.”
“Police seems to be the first and the last option for Omar Abdullah whether it is drug de-addiction, promotion of sports, snow clearance operations or gas distribution. We are living in unsure times,” Akhtar commented.

Lastupdate on : Wed, 7 Nov 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 7 Nov 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 8 Nov 2012 00:00:00 IST




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